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Full text of "North Carolina sermons .."

DUKE 
UNIVERSITY 




DIVINITY SCHOOL 
LIBRARY 



Rec'd 



. b s A /{ p» * i 






X- 






Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/northcarolinaserOObran 



NORTH CAROLINA 



SERMONS 



VOLUME II. 



EDITED BY 

Rev. LEVI BRANSON, D. D. 



RALEIGH, N. C: 
OFFICE, ROOM No. 31, BRANSON HOUSE, 

Levi Branson, Office Publisher, 

1886. 



NOTES ON YOL. I. 

1. It is desired to preserve some of the Sermon Literature 
of the State. 

2. Very few North Carolina Ministers have ever had any 
Sermons printed. 

3. This volume is published by subscription, in order to sell 
it at the lowest figures. 

4. The type, being large, is well suited to the aged and also 
to the young. 

5. These are Sermons of living men well known among us. 

6. It is designed to publish Vol. II. when there is sufficient 
demand for it. 



NOTES ON YOL. Yl. 

1. Believing the proper time has come, I now issue Vol. II. 
of North Carolina Sermons. 

2. The first volume was received kindly; it was largely cir- 
culated, and I have reason to believe, has already accom- 
plished great good. 

3. 1 sincerely thank my brethren in the ministry and others, 
who helped me to sell the first volume. 

4. Those subscribing for this volume will find the margin 
an inducement for handling it; besides the aged and invalids 
vill greatly appreciate the Sermons. 

5. It is designed to publish Vol. III. when there is suffi- 
cient demand for it. 



LEVI BRANSON, Editor. 



April 8th, 1886. 



Copyright, 1886, by Edwards, Broughton & Co., 

Levi Branson, Raleigh, N. C. | Printers, Raleigh, N. C. 



CONTENTS. 

PAGE. 
I. 
FUNERAL SERMON OF BRAXTON CRAVEN, D. D., 

LL. D., ....*.'.... 5 

By Rev. Marquis L. Wood, D. D., Shelby, N. C. 

II. 

THOU SHALT KNOW HEREAFTER, 14 

By Rev. J. C. Hartsell, Stanley's Creek, N. C. 

III. 

SON REMEMBER— THEN— NOW, .... 19 

By Bishop J. W. Hood, Fayetteville, N. C. 

IV. 

DUTY THE GUIDE TO OPPORTUNITY, . . 28 

By Rev. Prof. Adolphus W. Mangum, D. D., 

Chapel Hill. 

V. 
THE ELEMENTS AND POWER OF RELIGION, . 34 
By Rev. Brantley York, D. D. , New Salem, 
North Carolina. 

VI. 
PRESENT FAITH-PRESENT BLESSING, . . 44 
By Rev. J. C. Rowe, Lenoir, N. C. 
VII. 

MUTABLE AND IMMUTABLE, 54 

By Rev. M. V. Sherrill, Denver, N. C. 
VIII. 
WALKING BY FAITH ON EARTH— BY SIGHT IN 

HEAVEN, 65 

By Rev. J. M. Atkinson. D. D., Raleigh, N. C. 
IX. 
THE EXCELLENCY OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF 

CHRIST 78 

By Rev. L. L. Nash, Leasburg, N. 0. 
X. 

TO WHOM SHALL WE GO 83 

By Rev. E. A. Yates, D. D., Wilmington, N. C. 
XI. 
GOD'S LOVE MANIFESTED IN THE REDEMP- 
TION 93 

By Rev. A. W. Lineberry, D. D., Greensboro, 
North Carolina. 



527190 



4 Contents. 

page, 
XII. 

LIGHT OF REVELATION, 103 

By Rev. Dr. E. L. Perkins, Newport, N. C. 

XIII. 

BOUNDS OF RFSPONSIBILITY, .... 109 

By Rev. Thomas S. Campbell, Lexington, N. C. 

XIV. 

DIVINITY OF CHRIST, 117 

By Rev. T. Page Ricaur, Washington, N. C. 
XV. 

THE SYROPHENICIAN WOMAN, .... 127 

By Rev. Moses J. Hunt, Lewisville, N. C. 

XVI. 

TESTED IN DARKNESS— REWARDED IN LIGHT, 131 

By Rev. J. Pressley Barrett, Raleigh, N. C. 

XVII. 

TAKING BY THE RIGHT HAND— LIFTING UP, . 137 
By Rev. Stokes D. Frankltn, Winston, N. C. 
XVIII. 

SOUL WINNING 142 

By Rev. James T. Kendall, Clinton, N. C. 
XIX. 
THE DIVINE PURPOSE IN THE PLAN OF SAL- 
VATION, 147 

By Rev. James Maple, D. D., Raleigh, N. C. 
XX. 

A COMMENCEMENT SERMON, .... 157 

By Rev. Levi Branson, D. D., Raleigh, N. C. 
XXI. 

PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY 169 

By Rev. John S. Watkins, D. D., Raleigh, N. C. 
XXII. 
THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS, .... 180 
By Rev. John R. Brooks, Wilson, N. C. 
XXIII. 
CHRIST THE WAY— THE TRUTH— THE LIFE, . 195 
By Rev. R. L. Abernetht, D: D., Rutherford 
College, N. C. 

XXIV. 

"LET IT ALONE AND IT WON'T HURT YOU!" . 202 

By Theo. H. Hill, Raleigh, N. C. 



NORTH CAROLINA SERMONS. 



NECESSITY OF CHRISTIAN WORK. 

The Funeral Sermon of the Late Rev. Braxton Craven, 

D. D. LL. D., President of Trinity College N. C, 

Delivered in the College Chapel, 

November gTH, 1882. 

By REV. MARQUIS L. WOOD, D. D., of the N. C. Conference. 



I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day : 
the night cometh, when no man can work. — John ix:4. 

Activity is the law of the universe. It is seen in 
the movements of the heavenly bodies. The forces of 
nature are ever at work. The little particles of mat- 
ter are not at rest. All things ore in motion. And 
where there is motion there is mind. Motion is the 
result of mind. Then above, and in, and through all 
the movements and operations of the physical uni- 
verse there is an infinite, all wise and an eternal Mind, 
" Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own 
will." Mind is ever active. Mind must work. And 
man was made for work — mental, moral, physical 
work. Christianity is simply the Divine activities in 
and through Christians, to remedy the evils that are 
in the world, to recover lost man, and to enable him 
to achieve the high destiny for which he was created. 
God giveth "to every man his work." And no man 
has the right to work, in anything, outside of God's 
plan. "His kingdom ruleth over all." 



27190 



6 North Carolina Sermons. 

Our text expresses the impulsive energies of our na- 
ture when sanctified and intensified by the Divine 
within us; and contains three thoughts: I. Must 
work; II. The works; and III. The night. 

I. Must work. Must is the emphatic word of the 
text,, and furnishes the key to the whole. Jesus saw a / 
man who was born blind, and that sight moved Him 
to speak and to act. Here was an opportunity that 
must not be lost. The great law of sympathy ex- 
cites the heart to activity whenever opportunity pre- 
sents itself; and to disregard that impulse is to fail to 
do "the work of the law written in our hearts." The 
man Christ Jesus "was made under the law;" and 
when He saw the man born blind His gracious nature 
prompted Him to say : 

1. " I must work." The first expression of His 
which has been handed down to us is in these words, 
" I must be about my Father's business." Prophecy 
said of Him, " Lo, I come : in the volume of the book 
it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, my God : 
yea, thy law is written within my heart." All we 
know of God is through Christ Jesus. " No man hath 
seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which 
is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." 
He said to Philip, " He that hath seen me, hath seen 
the Father " He said of Himself, " My Father work- 
ete hitherto and I work ;" and, " The Father that dwell- 
eth in me, he doeth the works." He is the great Factor 
in all the works of God. " For of him, through him, 
and to him, are all things." " In the beginning was the 
Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was 
God. The same was in the beginning with God. All 
things were made by him, and without him was not 
anything made that was made." "Such a Being would 
represent that conditioned, yet infinitely powerful de- 
veloping agent, to which the universe, objectively con- 
sidered, appears to lead up. His work is twofold, for, 
in the first place, he develops the various universes or 



Necessity op Christian Work. 7 

orders of being; and secondly, in some mysterious 
way he becomes himself the type and pattern of each 
order, the representative of Deity, so far as the beings 
of that order can comprehend, especially manifesting 
such divine qualities as could not otherwise be intel- 
ligibly presented to their minds."* " He is " the im- 
age of the invisible God, the first born of evei^ crea- 
ture " ; — and, " the brightness of Ids glory, and the ex- 
press image of his person." He doeth the works of 
the Father: 1. In creation; "For by him were all 
things created, that are in heaven, and that are in 
earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or do- 
minions, or principalities, or powers : all things were 
created by him and for him." 2. In nature; " He is 
before all things, and by him ail tjhings consist." He 
controls, directs, and works all the forces of nature; 
and regulates the movements of all worlds, and all the 
systems of worlds. 3. In providence; all power in 
heaven and in earth is given into His hands. "He 
doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, 
and among the inhabitants of earth." 4. Inhumanity; 
" He went about doing good, and healing all that were 
oppressed of the devil." And this is especially the 
work of Christianity. 

2. " We must work." So reads the Revised Ver- 
sion, which is the correct rendering of the original 
word. Hence Jesus meant that His disciples as well 
Himself must work. " Work while it is day," or, work 
whenever an opportunity occurs. "We are His work- 
manship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, 
which God hath before ordained (prepared) that we 
should walk in them." Jesus says, " He that believeth 
on me, the works that I do shall he do also." Jesus 
is the pattern. And to be his is to work with Him 
and for Him, is to do His works, not our own. No 
Christian can or will be satisfied without " working 

*The Unseen Universe, pps. 226-7 



8 North Carolina Sermons. 

with his might," going about doing good. To be sat- 
isfied without doing good is to be dead ; is to be with- 
out Christ, without God, without hope in the world. 
" If any man hath not the spirit 6*f Christy he is none 
of His ;" and the spirit of Christ is to work. 

II. The works. " The works of him that sent me." 
The works that God hath prepared for us. And what 
are they? They must necessarily embrace the pur- 
poses of God in creation and in redemption. Why 
was the universe made? For what was man created? 
Was this world fitted up just for man to have a good 
time in ? to sport as the bird of the air ? to rove as the 
beast of the forest? simply for amusement pleasure? 
just to make money ? Such a thought is sacrilege. It 
is an insult to Deity. The adoring Psalmist asked, 
" What is man?" and then stated a fact when he an- 
swered, " Thou hast made him a little lower than the 
angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor." 
" A little lower than the angels (Elohim) ;" that is, a 
little less than Divine. " He is the image and glory 
of God." " And God said. Let us make man in our 
image " This image finds expression in the person of 
' : Christ Jesus : Who, being in the form of God, thought 
it not robbery to be equal with God." As the Father 
cannot be without the Son, as the will cannot be with- 
out the Word, as the being cannot exist without its 
image, so the Godhead in the second person of the 
Trinity had its form."* So the image consists in mind 
and form. But the Psalmist added, " Thou madest 
him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; 
thou hast put all things under his feet.". " God said, 
Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: 
and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, 
over the fowl of the air, and over the Cattle, and over 
all the earth, and over every creeping thing that 
creepeth upon the earth." So the likeness of God con 

*Rev. W. B. Pope, D. D., of the British Wesleyan Methodists. 



Necessity of Christian Work. 9 

% 

sists in thought and in dominion. Man, like God, can 
project himself upon mind and matter. By thought 
'he. can create new forms of beauty and enterprises, and 
with his hands can execute his designs. His grant 
was Originally given him in these'Jwords. "And God 
blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, 
and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." 
All things that God made were good but not complete; 
and man's work was and is to complete them. "Thou 
didst set him over the works of thy hands." For 
what? To study them and to use them To investi- 
gate the properties, the laws and forces of nature, bring 
them under his control, and make them his servants. 
Man was a part of " al! his works which God created 
to make."* 

Then man's first work was and is to complete, to 
perfect himself by developing his mind and by mak- 
ing for himself a character — by forming habits of study 
and thought, and of work. " Christ Jesus, . . . was 
made in the likeness (habit) of men." Then in the 
second place he was to fill the earth with beauty and 
joy, with the conveniences of arts and science; to 
gi'ow and to bring forth fruits unto holiness. He dis- 
obeyed ; but that did not annul nor change his origi- 
nal mission. It only increased his difficulties and 
fearfully augmented his dangers. The ground was 
cur ed for uis sake, and caused to bring forth thorns 
and thistles to him, His work was made labor and 
toil. He must henceforth eat bread in the sweat of 
his face. Sorrow was multiplied. Sin and evil were 
introduced. Now, in addition to the original grant, 
these are to be overcome, rooted out. The curse must 
be removed. Hence Divine mercy came to his aid, 
and introduced new and greater elements of power, 
more potent agencies and appliances. The Gospel, 
which is the power of God in Christ, comes to the aid 

Gen 11:3, Margin. 



10 North Carolina Sermons. 

of science. They both must work together in achiev- 
ing the grand and glorious destination of man. They 
both seek the truth and the best interests of humanity. 
God is the author of both. The Gospel puts the power 
of God into the work of man, giving life and salva- 
tion to the world. The head and the heart must be 
educated, vitalized, energized together. The whole 
man must be turned into the direction of the Divine 
plan. God requires the very best service man can 
render, demands all he can do God and man must 
work together "that God may be all in all" — God 
ruling in man, or man ruling in God. 

" Now we see not yet all things put under him. But 
we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the 
angels." Made for a little time lower than the angels, 
which is said to be identical with the statement, 
"made under the law," the Old Testament law being 
viewed as administered by angels. " He emptied him- 
self, taking the form of a servant." Stooped to the lowest 
depths of human wants; "He was made a little lower 
than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned 
with glory and honor ; that He, by the grace of God, 
should taste death for every man." He is now our 
Head ; and instead of looking back at our first head 
at what He did, we should look forward and up to 
what. He is for 'us and in us We must be crowned 
with Him. 

The work to be done. " Behold, I create new heav- 
ens and a new earth : and the former shall not be re- 
membered, nor come into mind." All the former 
ignorance, and poverty, and degradation, and misery, 
and all evil forgotten. " Instead of the thorn shall 
come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall 
come up the myrtle tree." The curse removed from 
the ground. " In the wilderness shall waters break 
out, and streams in the desert. And the parched 
ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land 



Necessity of Christian Work. 11 

springs of water." All saharas and waste places trans- 
formed into fertile fields. "There shall be no more an 
infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled 
out his days ; for the child shall die an hundred years 
old." The laws of health so well understood and so 
fully observed that disease will be unknown. " We, 
according to his promise, look for new heavens and a 
new earth, wherein dwelleth righteous." The sign of 
Heaven shall be fully established. "And the glory of 
the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it 
together." 

" Not yet." " But we see Jesus." He is our Cap- 
tain leading on the hosts of workers. More and more 
the world of thought, in all its departments, is turned 
towards Christ. More and more is the name of Jesus 
becoming above every other name. More and more is 
He drawing all men to Himself as the years advance. 
He is the inspiration of all the grand movements and 
activities of the present century — of the wonderful 
missionary operations of the church, of the great in- 
dustries and enterprises, of the social and political re- 
forms, of the founding public charities and asylums, 
and of the endowing schools of learning and of art. 
" The spirit of Christ is the spirit of progress." 

The lesson of our text was strikingly illustrated in 
the life of him who now lies before us in death. At a 
very early age Braxton Craven exhibited a remark- 
able capacity for work. Working on the farm, tend- 
ing a mill, carrying the grain and flour to market, 
and going to school occasionally, occupied his time 
from seven to fourteen years of age. The gentleman 
with whom he lived during that time, said of him, 
" He was industrious, pushing, and always studying 
something." And the wife of the gentleman (she still 
lives) says of him, " He was a smart, trusty, reliable 

boy, always at his post of duty He was always 

anxious to learn ; and would devote all his spare time 



12 North Carolina Sermons. 

to books, and of nights by torch light. His greatest 
desire seemed to be to gain knowledge." .And that 
same industrious, pushing, trust}', studious spirit con- 
tinued to the very clay of his death ; and he died at 
" his post of duty." 

Somehow thus early in life he realized the first duty 
of every man — that of making the most possible of 
himself, by constant application to study and work ; 
and in the second place, of doing all he possibly could 
for humanity. At fifteen years of age he commenced 
teaching. When seventeen years old he was con- 
verted, whicli greatly intensified his desire for learn- 
ing. In his eighteenth year he went to New Garden, 
a High School under the care of the Society of Friends, 
in Guilford count} 7 , N. C, where he remained only a 
part of a year. Then he went to Union Institute, now 
Trinity College, where he was pupil and assistant 
teacher, till he was elected Principal, which took place 
in his twentieth year. And seven years after he went 
to Randolph Macon College, and stood an examina- 
tion on the entire course of study, without missing a 
single question, and received the degree of Batchelor 
of Arts. Two years after, the University of North 
Carolina conferred the degree of A. M. upon him ; and 
subsequently Andrew College, of Tennessee, the de- 
gree of D. D.; and the University of Missouri, the de- 
gree of LL. D. He commenced preaching in his nine- 
teenth year, but he was thirty-five years old when he 
joined the North Carolina Annual Conference. 

Dr. Craven was a thorough scholar, and very exten- 
sively read. He was perfectly familiar with every de- 
partment of the entire college course. If he had a 
talent for any one thing more than another it was 
mathematics. And he had a very happy faculty of 
imparting knowledge to others. For varied scholar- 
ship he had not a superior upon the continent. Per- 
haps numbers have more reputation than he. Had 



Necessity of Christian Work. 13 

he made a specialty of any one thing, he would have 
been the equal, if not the superior, of any man in any 
country. He was a profound and an original thinker. 
He grasped the most abstruse problems of science at 
once, and thoroughly. He faltered at nothing. His 
preaching was solid, interesting and instructive; and 
at times it was touching and grand. He had strong 
faith in God. His confidence was in the living God, 
who is interested in the work of man, who will help 
those who try to do something for themselves and for 
their race. His ardent desire was to serve " his own 
generation by the will of God." 

It is not my purpose to pronounce a eulogy upon 
Dr. Craven. His best eulogy is in the hearts of those 
who have been his pupils; and they are scattered over 
all this South land from the Potomac to the Pacific. 
And the news of his death will fiil them with sadness 
wherever they may be. .Many a poor young man has 
he helped to get an education. He well knew how to 
sympathize with all such. His monument is this col- 
lege. To it he gave his best energies, his money, and 
his life. Trinity College crushed him. He ought not 
to be dead ; and would not. be bad he received the 
sympathy and the support he so richly deserved. Oh ! 
how long will the church stand .off and see our col- 
leges crush our Duncans and our Cravens? When 
will the people learn that "the Lord hath need of" 
their money as well as their brains and their hearts, 
and their hands?" When will each one learn that 
God has a great work for every man to do? We bury 
a worthy example to-day. Dr. Craven was not with- 
out his faults, nor his weak points; for he was human. 
But he succeeded despite his weaknesses and his de- 
fects. Humble indeed was his beginning, but noble 
was his life, and triumphant his end. 

III. The night. " The night cometh when no man 
can work." How beautiful and tender are the words 



14 North Carolina Sermons, 

of Jesus. His love and His sympathy reach to the 
very depths of human sorrow. In His teaching death 
is a night — a night of rest, rest from labor. When 
we think of night we think of the morning that is 
soon to follow. Jesus is the life of the world, and the 
light of the world. And His light shineth into the 
darkness, even the darkness of the grave. The Chris- 
tian goes to sleep in death looking for the morning — 
the morning of the resurrection, which is the morn- 
ing of glory. Thank God, Dr. Craven is not dead, but 
sleepeth. Arid he shall have " part in the first resur- 
rection." 



THOU SHALT KNOW HEREAFTER. 

By Rev. J. C. Hartsell, 
Of the North Carolina Conference. 



What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know 
hereafter.— St. John xiii : 7. 

Our subject is knowledge finite and infinite. The 
former belongs to man, the latter to God. Finite 
knowledge can only play within a certain compass, 
while infinite can penetrate all things, and is conver- 
sant with eternal secrets. True, man's knowledge 
sometimes goes far in unravelling mysteries, andmay 
stand on the outposts of creation, and gaze into the 
face of the unknown, as if anxious to walk by his side, 
and sport along his path and play at his feet. In fact 
he may count the stars and weigh the atmosphere, and 
fathom the ocean ; lie may look at himself the master- 
piece of God's own workmanship, and hear his throb- 
bing heart pulsating with organic life and power, and 
feel the currents of life acting and re-acting upon him, 
and know something of his own existence ; yet he is 



Thou Shalt Know Hereafter. .15 

compelled to fall at His feet and say " what thou doest 
I know not now ;" and this evidence is seen in living 
letters in the record of the pastff - Even far down the 
retreating ages, there stands, in monumental splendor, 
instances of God's wrath and mercy, the reason of 
which we know but little. J, The Israelites are a speci- 
men. Under a cruel yoke, crushed nearly to death, 
bleeding and torn they murmured at God when He 
withheld the showers of blessing. Though they did 
not. know, yet God was " leading them forth by the 
right way that they might go to a city of habitation." 
We know very little of God's providential dealings 
with us ^ Look at Daniel's case — fully aware of an 
unalterable decree, bowing in humble prayer before 
Almighty God, subjecting himself to the dread ordeal 
of a lion's den, not knowing but it might prove his 
last resting place until the resurrection morn.^Again, 
we see walking in the midst of a burning flame three 
mortal, but pious men, attesting by their endurance 
the power of an endless, happy life.y. Further down in 
the history of the past, we have the case of Abraham, 
the friend of God, starting and journeying in obedi- 
ence to the great command ; then erecting an altar 
and preparing the wood, and binding the sacrifice and 
raising the gleaming knife to penetrate the heart and 
let out the life blood of an only son in whom the 
promise of the world's future glory and salvation is 
lodged, at the same time not knowing what God meant 
in all this strange procedure, but doubtless satisfied 
with the fact declared in the text, " I shall know here- 
after."^ We have also the case of Job, a man perfect 
and upright, fearing God, and eschewing evil ; strip- 
ped of property, then of friends, lastly of health, and 
sitting down in sackcloth and ashes scrapes himself 
with a potsherd, giving to the world a living monu- 
ment of integrity and pure principle, and illustrating 
the truth of the doctrine afterwards taught by the 



North Carolina Sermons. 

world's Redeemer, " Blessed is the man that endurefch 
temptation, for when lie is tried he shall have a crown 
of life." 
X Commencing with the christian dispensation, we 
have many illustrious christian heroes who endured 
hardness as good soldiers of the Cross./ See Paul after 
his conversion, not conferring with flesh and blood, 
but entering at once upon active ministerial duty, in 
the face of almost all sorts of opposition to him and 
his cause, and though he was the sport of the silly 
and contempt of the proud, he said none of these 
things move me. And vvhen we come to our own ex- 
perience we know very little of God's peculiar dispen- 
sations. Sometimes our |»recious loved ones are taken, 
and the dark cloud of sorrow and gloom gathers 
around the threshhold of our homes because loved 
ones are gone and seats are vacant in the precious 
family circle, and sweet voices silenced until they shall 
give utterance responsive to the Arch Angel's trumpet. 
Then their pulse, now cold, will quicken with the 
pulse of Immortality, and the fire gone out in the eye 
will re-kindle in the radiance of the resurrection. 
Then it matters not if clouds and darkness are round 
about him, and the mystic future hides these 
things from our mortal vision. He says " we shall 
know hereafter," and these words immortal are to the 
christian in his grief like the mellow hues of the arch 
ino - rainbow to mortal vision, or the proud moon in 
his brightness, or the sun in his glory, shedding luster 
over the hills and vales and spreading beauty and 
o-ladness, giving light and comfort to all. "Thou 
shalt know hereafter," these words bring comfort to 
us, and tell us our ignorance then shall be gone. His 
infinity, as well as wisdom, is seen in creative acts. 
Look at this earth of ours, with its living millions of 
human forms; think of its magnitude, its properties, 
its rolling rivers, its huge mountains, its deep caverns 



Thou Shalt Know Hereafter. 17 

and dense forests, beautiful streamlets and mighty 
oceans. In fact, think of everything grand and glo- 
rious about this mighty sphere, and you will see the 
outcroppings of infinite wisdom manifested in design, 
plan and system, corroborating the scriptual state- 
ment that He made all things, and without Him was 
not anything made that was made. _Yes. H is wisdom 
shines in every star, glitters in every sunbeam, plays 
in every dewdrop that twinkles to the morning light, 
forces its way in every passing breeze, rests on the ver- 
dant landscape, and plays upon the bosom of the 
angry cloud, and is seen stamped upon every human 
form ; and yet, often short-sighted finite man would 
attempt to measure arms with God who " spake as 
never man spake." God made us immortal — has 
united a spirit to a clod of earth. We are out on an 
endless career, and though we know but little of Him 
now, we "shall know hereafter." Oh! what a scene 
to the enraptured gaze of men and angels. We shall 
all be there. Yes, unnumbered millions shall gather 
at His tfar, and among them will be found the men of 
classic mould, whose giant tread left departing foot- 
prints on the sands of time; also those of spiritual 
perception keen, who, in this world, were attracted by 
a Saviour's Cross, and coming within reach of His 
dying love washed their robes and " made them white 
in his precious blood." Gazing still on this large 
assize, we shall behold the very men whose infidelity 
and skepticism cursed this lower world. But these, 
with many others, are soon to be turned away at God's 
left hand with their minds in a paralytic state, to burn 
in darkness forever and forever, " while the righteous 
shall shine forth in the kingdom of their Fattier with 
spotless robes," and expanding minds, with clear con- 
ceptions and perfect views of Him " who loved them 
and gave himself for them." Then we shall know 
why in this world God so often sent the sunshine in- 



18 North Carolina Sermons. 

termingled with the cloud and storin, and also why 
the Death Angel, with barbed arrow keen, entered our 
lovely homes and claimed the ones on whom our best 
affections fell. Yes, then shall open to our immortal 
vision the reason for dark dispensations in our pilgrim 
days, and we shall be satisfied that God hath done all 
things well. "Thou shalt know hereafter." Oh ! pre 
cious words. They ring in our ears while in this vale 
of tears like the melodious sound of angel harp strings, 
softly touched with heavenly fingers, bringing con- 
solation to our grieved and stricken hearts, filling our 
souls " full of glory and of God." Wicked men may 
hide themselves in the strong hold of infidelity, may 
fortify themselves with so-called science against the 
Bible, may even utterly denounce divine revelation, 
the light of which points us to the land of promise, 
but let me have the comfort in my poor heart which 
Jesus, through His Father, brings, and here I'll rest 
my all for this life and the one to come; and stand- 
ing firm in faith on the rock of ages, sure I'll catch a 
glimpse of that inside the vail, and say yonder is my 
home beyond the tide. 



Thou Shalt Know Hereafter. 19 



SON, REMEMBER— THEN— NOW. 

By J. W. Hood, 

Bishop A. M. E. Zion Church, on board Steamship "City of 
Berlin," October 6th, 1881. 



Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy 
good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is 
comforted, and thou are tormented. — St. Luke xvi:25. 

Our text is a part of the only conversation that we 
have any account of, between a spirit in hell and a 
spirit in heaven. I have not time to discuss the ques- 
tion, as to whether the discourse in which it is found 
is a recital of events which really transpired, or merely 
a parable. It is not necessary that I should, as the 
same lesson is taught in either case. If a real history, 
it tells us what happened to two of the human race ; 
if a parable, it is a picture of what will be the destiny 
of the two classes into which the human race is di- 
vided in the eye of Jehovah. 

The great and solemn question upon which I desire 
that we shall exercise our thoughts is this, Why was 
t his man in torme n ts ? I d esi re to t urn your tTfougTi ts 
in this direction, because there are so many who think 
that only the monster in iniquity is in danger of tor- 
ment. That in order to incur the displeasure of Al- 
mighty God, and be banished from his presence, we 
must be guilty of some terrible crime. Hence we fre- 
quently hear people say: "Why, what harm have Idone? 
Whom have I injured ? I don't think I am so very 
bad." Well, you don't need to be so very bad. You 
need not be a drunkard, a blasphemer or murderer. 
Suppose that you are prepared to prove that you have 
done nothing, then you are guilty of doing nothing, 
and you will be damned for doing nothing. This was 



20 North Carolna Sermons. 

just the charge brought against those on the left hand 
of the Son of man. They had done nothing. " I was 
hungry and ye gave rne no meat," &c. It was for what 
they had not done that they were condemned. Like- 
wise to the man who had not improved his talent. His 
lord said, " Thou wicked"— what ! murderer? no, "thou 
wicked slothful servant." He was slow ; that was all. 
The five virgins were called foolish, and were con- 
demned, simply for their neglect to take oil in their 
vessels with their lamps. But to return to the person 
presented in the text. Why was he in torments? 
t - I see a heading in some of our Bibles which makes 
him a glutton. But who has a right to write such a 
heading? Who has a right to say more about him 
than is found in our Lord's discourse? He undertook 
to tell us about him ; he certainly had the ability to 
tell all there was to tell about him, and I claim that 
he failed not. He said nothing of gluttony, and we 
have no right to put it into the bill against him. Some 
attempt, to°make him an. extortioner, a drunkard, a 
blasphemer— in fact, to load him wiih every crime un- 
der the sun, for which they have not a particle of war- 
rant in God's word. It would seem that they under- 
take thus to justify the Almighty in sending him to 
torment. God doesn't need any such help at our 
hands. We spoil His Word by putting our dirty fin- 
gers into it. Better keep them out. Why then was 
he in torments?*-! have heard it said that he was so 
mean and stingy, not to say cruel, that he refused Laz- 
arus the crumbsthat fell from his table. Where is that 
idea found? Certainly not in our Lord's discourse. 
He tells us that Lazarus was laid at the rich man's 
gate, and that he was desiring the crumbs. That is, he 
continued to desire. Certainly this would not have 
been the case if he received nothing. His laying at that 
gate would not have continued until the dogs became 
well acquainted with him, if he had received nothing. 



Son, Remember — Then — Now. 21 

The fact that the rich man knew him as soon as he 
saw him in heaven indicates that he had seen him 
frequently at his gate. Also the fact that Lazarus was 
the one above all others in heaven selected to hear the 
blessing he sought, suggest the idea that he might con- 
sider him under obligations for some favor received on 
earth. I can imagine his beholding Lazarus, and say- 
ing to himself, " why yonder is Lazarus, who used to 
receive cold pieces at my gate ; surely, if any one would 
be willing to bring me a blessing from heaven he 
will." I conclude from the statement that Lazarus 
received the crumbs. That man's table was too abund- 
antly loaded, daily, with fresh and rich provision, and 
he was too much engaged with riches, fashion, and, 
his sumptuous repast, to concern himself with kitchen 
affairs. I suspect that he had no care as to what be- 
come of the crumbs, whether they were given by the 
cooks to the dogs or beggars, was a matter of no con- 
sequence to him. It is intimated that Lazarus and 
the dogs were companions, and, in all probability, they 
fared alike. It may be said that it is quite probable 
that this man had a barn, and some hay or straw, and 
that he might have had him carried in out of the 
weather; or, rich as he was, he might have copied the 
conduct of the Shunamite woman, who built for Elisha 
a little house on the wall, and put there a bed, and 
table and candlestick for him. All this is very true, 
but then, there are a great many rich people who don't 
thus trouble themselves about beggars. Hence, in 
thus neglecting the poor man at his gate he did no 
less than the majority of his class. Indeed, there are 
many who would not have suffered him to lay there 
in view of his rich guests as they passed in and out. 
Why then was he in torments? i/Weil, it is said that 
he was rich, but don't we all want to be rich ? It is 
not money, but the love of it, that is said to be the 
root of evil. If, therefore, we love money we have 



22 North Carolina Sermons. 

the root of evil in us, whether we are rich or not. If 
he was rich, he was not in that different from many 
others, or from what the^ mass want to be. But it is 
said that he was clothed in purple and fine linen. 
Well, the mass of mankind dress quite up to their 
ability. Some even out dress their pockets — wear 
more than they can pay for. If this man dressed well, 
he did it at his own expense, and he paid for what he 
put on ; and whose business was it? I attended a re- 
ception recently, at which I saw ladies, who were not 
satisfied with what they could carry on their backs, 
but had a lot of ^oods trailing on the floor. If this 
man was sent to torment because he dressed well, 
there can be but little hope for the present generation. 
Weil, it is said that he fared sumptuously every day. 
And have we not been faring sumptuously ever since 
we left Liverpool ? We have been eating four meals 
a day, except when sea sickness prevented us. A daily 
sumptuous repast is not an uncommon thing, even 
with those who hope to get to heaven. I confess that 
in all this I cannot see wherein this man differed from 
the mass of mankind. So far from being a vile rep- 
robate, he was a Jew,»a member of the synagogue, a 
son of Abraham. He called Abraham father, and 
Abraham acknowledged the relationship, " Son."^Once 
more I ask why then was he in torments? ,L^Vefind 
the answer in the text. The only reason given is the 
answer of Abraham, who tells him why he must re- 
main in torments. To get out of torments was what ; 
this man wanted. It is true his request was a very 
modest one, to appearance. He only asked for one 
drop of water; but for what? To cool his tongue, to 
ease his pain, to remove his mysery. When pain and 
misery are removed, torments cease. Besides this, if 
once an opening was made through which relief from 
heaven could be obtained for those in hell, there would 
be no end to the applications, until hell was empty 



Son, Remember — Then— Now. 23 

and without an inhabitant. Instead of asking for 
drops of water they would beg for streams. Even 
those who now are most regardless of the dauger of 
hell, would be most earnest in applying for relief from 
its torments. I repeat, what this man wanted was to 
get out of torments, and Abraham tells him why he 
could not get out. "Son remember, that thou in thy 
lifetime reeeivedst thy good things." " Thy good thing s." 
The things he pronounced good, and set his heart 
upon, he had received. Had he made a mistake? had 
they not filled his expectations? It was his own mis- 
take The things declared by Him that knoweth all 
things to be far better were offered. But this man 
knew best what he wanted. In his own opinion he 
knew better than his Maker what was good. And be- 
ing free to make his own selection, he selected what he 
pronounced good ;|namely, riches, fine dress, fine din- 
ners, ease and worldly pleasure^ These he had re- 
ceived, with all the enjoyment they were capable of 
affording him. He had not cared for anything be- 
yond these. He had not sought anything beyond 
these, but had made these his portion, his trust, his 
all. Had they failed to meet his expectation? The 
failure was his own. There was a course in which 
failure would have been impossible, but he did not 
choose it. He was like the young man who was 
offered treasure in heaven, yet having more confidence 
in his own possessions, went away sorrowful. i/This 
man was in hell because he did not choose heaven. 
There are but two places. Heaven is offered to all, and 
all who freely accept it may have it. Those who will 
not go to heaven must go to hell. 

Some profess to doubt the reality of hell. If there 
be no hell, no place of future and eternal punish- 
ment, what means the many fearful statements of 
revelation respecting the future state ? " The wicked 
shall be turned into hell, with all the nations that 
forget God." 



24 North Carolina Sermons. 

" Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and 
brimstone, and a horrible tempest : this shall be the 
portion of their cup." 

y But there are those who reject revelation. Science, 
so-called, and infidel scientists, reject the statements of 
revelation. But the must that science, without reve- 
lation, has been able to do for us, is to lead us back to 
protoplasm, and there leave us uncertain as to whence 
we came, or whither we are traveling. Can that hu- 
man mind that is willing thus to be lost in a little 
speck of matter, be considered to be of the highest 
order 9 If I entertained such sentiments I should be 
ashamed to acknowledge it in the presence of intelli- 
gent people. True science is supported by revelation, 
and bears irresistible tistimony to the truths of reve-* 
lation. Hence science that rejects revelation must be 
false. What have scientists given us, as an account of 
creation, that bears any comparison with the state- 
ments of the inspired penman? 

y Look at the sublime manner in which the subject 
opens. There is no long preface, no labored introduc- 
tion, no apology for writing, but the subject bursts 
upon us at once, in all its grandeur and momencity. 
" In the beginning God created the heavens and the 
earth." Then there is a statement of the original state of 
matter; it was without form, and void. The Almighty 
Creator stepped forth and spoke. The latant caloric- 
heard His voice, and to the astonished gaze of the 
morning stars, light, creations first born leaped from 
the womb of chaos. God said let there be light, and light 
was. The key notes of astronomy seem to have been 
borrowed from revelation. Who had demonstrated, 
or even hinted, that a line was stretched over the 
empty place and the earth hung upon nothing until 
God revealed it to Job in his discourse out of the 
whirlwind ? Who can give a satisfactory answer to 
all the questions propounded in that sublime dis- 



Son, Remember — Then — Now. 25 

course? On the question, " Canst thou bring forth 
Mazzaroth in his season ?'' much has been written, but 
the wisest are undecided as to what is meant b}' Maz- 
zaroth. That more than one meaning is insisted upon 
stamps all with uncertainty. 

Respecting the question, camt thou bind the sweet 
influence of pleiades, ages had passed before even as- 
tronomers knew that pleiades had any special influ- 
ence. They now tell us that Alcyone, the central star 
of that interesting group, is the great central sun of 
the universe, that all other suns and systems revolve 
around it, and that it holds the universe in poise. 
This is a grand idea, but where did they get it from ? 
Why, from the Bible the great source of all knowl- 
edge. To this we must look for light on the subject 
before us. All we can really know of the future we 
must learn from this source. Here future punishment 
is most clearly revealed. "These shall go away into 
everlasting punishment." The place of punishment 
is frequently called hell. And here we are met with 
the assertion that hell is derived from the Greek word 
which signifies the grave. We may not all be Greek 
scholars. We don't need to be; we don't need to be 
English scholars; we only need a few grains of good, 
hard, common sense, to realize that seme of the pas- 
sages in which the place is referred to, the grave can- 
not be meant. Take for instance Luke xii : 5 : " But 
I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear : fear him, 
which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell ; 
yea, I say unto you fear him." 

Are we thus solemnly warned to fear the man that 
puis the body in the grave? Is it the grave digger 
that we are to fear above all ? Can you believe it? 

Remember we are told not to fear them that kill the 
body and can do no more. Are we to understand from 
this thatlhe killing is nothing, but being put into the 
grave is the fearful thing? Away with such nonsense. 



26 North Carolina Sermons. 

Id Matthew xxv : 10 we read : " There shall be 
weeping: and gnashing of teeth." Is there weeping in 
the grave ? Did you ever hear a wail coming up from 
the grave? In the grave the ear hears not, the eye 
weeps not, the heart heaves not. No thinking, no 
aching, no pain distracts the slumbers of the dead. 

But in Mark we read of " hell fire; where their worm 
dieth not and the fire is not quenched." It may be 
said that there are worms in the grave. Yea, but I 
suspect they die. In the place mentioned their worm 
dieth not, (not worms, but their worm). "And the 
fire is not quenched." I need not tell you that there 
is no fire in the grave: 

Finally, we have what is said of the rich man, "In 
hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments." We have 
also his language, "I am tormented in this flame." 
There is neither flame nor torments in the grave; 
neither is there an impassable gulf fixed between the 
grave and heaven, for Jesus tells us that many shall 
rise from their graves into everlasting life. Yet Abra- 
ham told the rich man that between them a gulf was 
fixed that could not be passed I think that you will 
agree with me that it does not require great learning 
to perceive that the grave is not the thiug signified in 
these passages. But it may be said that the language 
we have quoted is figurative ; that these are shadows, 
only shadows. We admit it, but this only increases 
the terror they bring to a thoughtful mind. You can- 
not have a shadow without a substance. If these are 
only the shadows, what must be the substance that sends 
forth such fearful shadows. The smoke of their tor- 
ment shall ascend up forever, and that is only the 
shadow. After the grave and the sea gave up their 
dead, " Death and hell were cast into a lake of fire. 
This is the second death, "and whosoever was not found 
written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." 
What fearful shadows ! What must be that substance 
that sends them forth ! Admitting that we are not to 



Son, Remember — Now — Then. 27 

understand these expressions, in a literal, but in a fig- 
urative sense ; that there is not literally a lake of fire 
and brimstone, it may be asked, what then will con- 
stitute the torments of the lost soul ? The text sug- 
gests the idea that memory will be an ingredient in 
the cup of bitterness which those who reject the better 
part shall drink. "Son, remember." Memory, the 
undying worm, shall bring back to the mind it, folly. 
The opportunities unimproved, the warnings slighted, 
the moments wasted, and the offer of heaven rejected, 
will, through memory, all return to the mind. We 
shall remember how easily we might have reached 
heaven, how near we were, at times to the straight 
gate and narrow way, and how often we have slighted 
, the offers of mercy. We shall remember the ser- 
mons, prayers and exortalions we have heard ; the 
pleadings of parents, of ministers, and friends who 
have tried to lead us to the Lamb of God who taketh 
away the sins of the world, will all be remembered. 
And the memory of these things will torment the lost 
soul. 

But the context suggests the idea that the lost soul in 
torments will be in sight of heaven. The rich man saw 
Lazarus. Yes, in sight of heaven, yet not permitted 
to enter; in sight of loved ones, yet can never more 
join them ; in sight of the saints who gather beneath 
the bows of the tree of life, and pluck immortal fruit 
from its ever-ladened branches ; with longing looks 
behold the white-robed army as Jesus leads them to 
living fountains of water, and with yearning eyes fol- 
low them in their flight through the blissful regions 
of glory, yet can only behold them from afar. 

What a mercy that we are out of hell to-day! God 
grant us grace to choose heaven while we may. Amen, 



28 North Carolina Sermons. 



DUTY IS THE GUIDE TO OPPORTUNITY. 

By Adolphus W. Mangum, D. D., 

North Carolina Conference, Professor University of North 
Carolina. 



And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. — 
Acts xiii : 48. 

God's words and ways are always consistent. He is 
the same yesterday, to day and forever. The Holy 
Bible contains no contradictions. Hence, any pas- 
sages that appear to be in conflict with the plain, gen- 
eral tenor of Revelation should be carefully studied, 
that their real meaning may be understood. It is 
neither wise nor right nor safe to interpret detached 
sentences without proper regard to the context and to 
established manifest doctrines. The text does not teach 
unconditional election. The chapter shows that the 
Jews put the gospel from them; that the Gentiles be- 
sought the Apostles to preach to them, and came to- 
gether on the next Sabbath to hear him ; and that the 
Lord had commanded that Jesus should be " for sal- 
vation unto the ends of the earth/' 

We will assume that the multitude that heard the 
sermon on that day was made up of two classes: ]. 
The merely curious, or otherwise unfaithful, who were 
not in the frame of obedience; who were without right 
appreciation of religious duty, and consequently un- 
prepared in spirit and intention to receive the truth. 
2. Those who were up to the line of duty in heart and 
practice — faithful to what they understood, and there- 
fore ready to accept and to improve whatever they 
might be able to learn about obligation and opportu- 
nity. The first class, unless they changed, were not 



Duty is the Guide to Opportunity, 29 

saved, though they heard even the great Apostle to 
the Gentiles. The second class were ready for the 
memorable hour. They believed because they had 
lived so that they were ready to believe. They had 
lived so that they had become of that character unto 
which God had ordained his blessings. If they had 
not been of that character they neither would nor 
could have believed, in the true sense, for the}- would 
not have been of that character or class that God has 
ordained to the blessings of eternal life. They did 
not believe because they were ordained ; neither were 
they ordained unconditionally: but they were or- 
dained to eternal life because of their voluntary sub- 
mission or obedience to the will of God as revealed to 
them; and the fact of their believing was the proof 
that they had this requisite preparation for believing, 
and were therefore in the class of those ordained to 
eternal life. Their right-mindedness in the sight of 
God brought them up and kept them up to the stand- 
ard of God's requirements and blessings. The same 
explanation applies to the words in Acts 2 ch., 47 v : 
" And the Lord added to the church daily such as 
should be saved." It is known to be God's pleasure to 
save those that come up to their duty. That they 
were saved was proof that they were up to their duty, 
and therefore proof that they were " such as should 
be saved." To give a contrary meaning to these and 
like sounding passages would appear like an effort to 
dam up the sweeping crystal flood of the promises of 
God and to dry up the fountain ol' the dearest hopes 
of humanity; aye, it would confound the whole phil- 
osophy of duty, neutralize the -merit of all obedience, 
bewilder all normal consciousness and all enlightened 
conscience, and cast a dark shadow over all that is 
bright on earth and all that is glorious in the Ever- 
lasting Kingdom. 

So, instead of unconditional election, we find in the 
text the momentous and inspiring truth that 



30 North Carolina Sermons. 

Duty is the Guide to Opportunity. 

This is true of the ordinary responsibilities and in- 
terests of life. The field that is tilled will profit by 
the refreshing showers. The merchant that is ready 
with supplies will reap the benefits of an active de- 
jnand. The ship that is trimmed for the voj'age will 
improve the favoring winds. The teacher that has 
studied and learned is equal to the hour of instruc- 
tion. The physician that has fitted himself for his 
work is ready when the emergency calls for his skill. 
So of men in all callings, industrial and professional. 
But the most important application of this idea is to 
spiritual obligations and interests. 

1. The opportunity of those gentiles in Corinth was 
that of discovering and receiving the glorious truths of 
the gospel. Some of them evidently were in the state 
of readiness that followed devotion to duty, and they 
reaped the precious possibilities that were presented. 

Thus it is in the discovery and appreciation of truth 
to-day. To realize rational and abiding faith in the 
Bible as the word of God, there is need of faithful 
searching for the truth, and of prompt and frank ac- 
ceptance of trustworthy light and knowledge. God 
utters a terrible denunciation against those who will 
not receive " the love of the truth.'' Those who are 
honest- minded and who learn th.e best they can, and 
follow up the best convictions the} 7 have, are in the 
path of wisdom that is the surest guide of the sincere 
and perseverii g soul to triumphant faith in the Holy 
Scriptures as the all-sufficient and infallible revelation 
of God to man. 

2. The opportunity of those gentiles also embraced 
all that is involved in the glorious experience of be- 
coming the children of God. So sudden was the great 
change with them that it requires an effort to compre- 
hend tiiat they passed through all that is properly 



Duty is the Guide to Opportunity. 31 

♦ 
meant by repenting and believing. Their loyalty to 
duty enabled them to glide at once into the new and 
higher state that duty commanded and opportunity 
opened before them. 

The same duty and the same opportunity exist for 
every honest seeker of salvation to-day. 

To a man of sound mind belief in the truth of the 
Bible should be followed at once by conviction of sin, 
by sorrow for sin, and by a turning away from sin 
unto the forgiving Heavenly Father. This is cer- 
tainly his first and greatest duty, and, as shown by the 
converts at Corinth, is his actual privilege. But, alas! 
sinners do so often, so strangely, so recklessly, and so 
persistently neglect that duty and slight that privi- 
lege! When they ought to give all possible thought 
to these momentous matters, they choose to turn their 
minds to things that cannot satisfy or save — often to 
things that delude, degrade and destroy. If a man 
will think till he realizes what the Bible teaches about 
his soul, he will see his sins against the blessed Savior 
— against the redeeming love of God— and know what 
should surely move him to godly torrow for that sin. 
Till he has repented, every moment is a time when he 
should repent. Any time is God's time to help the 
sinner that repents. The sad truth is thatmendonot 
patiently think on their ways — on their wickedness, 
their danger, their folly, their ingratitude, their rebel- 
lion against God. Hence, they do not thoroughly re- 
alize conviction, and do not repent. Borne profess to 
be waiting for repentance to come to them. They 
banish all serious thoughts, and then in their lolly ex- 
pect the feelings that nothing but those serious 
thoughts can engender. They reject God's plan of re- 
pentance and then look for God's extraordinary work- 
ing in their behalf. The prime, essential duty is for 
a sinner to apply to himself what God teaches all sin- 
ners. Then, and then only, will he be ready for the 
duty and opportunity of genuine repentance. 



32 North Carolina Sermons. 

•\ 

I have spoken of faith in the Bible as God's word. 
That is intellectual faith — mere assent to the truth. 
There is another kind of faith that we call saving faith 
or trust. Belief in the Bible — in all that is involved 
in the plan of salvation — is possible to devils and to 
impenitent sinners. It is not enough' to believe that 
Jesus is the Savior, and that he will save all that re 
pent and put their trust in him. It is necessary that 
the sinner repent and trust with his whole soul that 
God does now forgive him for Jesus' sake. Some may 
say that they have given up their sins and desire to be 
christians, but that they cannot believe that the Lord 
pardons them. Perhaps they are in error in believing 
that they have given up their sins. Closer self-exam- 
ination would probably reveal the truth that they are 
clinging to some favorite pleasure or habit, or are 
cherishing a spirit of worldly pride or ambition, or 
are fostering some old resentment or prejudice, or in 
some other way keeping the unholy fire in the heart. 
" Let the wicked man forsake his way and the un- 
righteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto 
the Lord and he will have mercy upon him, and unto 
our God, for he will abundantly pardon." But it may 
be that these chronic doubters are simply destitute of 
the spirit of submission to God, and are not willing to 
take religion in God's way and upon God's terms. 
They are not up to the line of obedience. They are 
not ready to be saved. There should be a conscious- 
ness of complete and final abandonment of all that is 
contrary to the will of God and an absolute offering 
of one's self to the service of God for all the remain- 
der of life. Then it must be easy to " take God at his 
word " — that is, to quietly claim and confidently trust 
that He forgives ail sin through the atoning merits of 
Jesus, as He does so plainly promise. 

3. This relation of duty to opportunity and success 
obtains through all of the life of the child of God. 



Duty is the Guide to Opportunity, 33 

He that is faithful to duty is always ready for oppor- 
tunity. He may, aye, must meet with trials; but, if 
he is living up to the line of duly, no trials can gain 
the mastery of his soul. The faithful man never falls. 
He is sure to find divine grace sufficient. To be faith- 
ful is to be ever in reach of the mercy and help that 
are needed. God has assured us that if faithful we 
shall not be tempted above that which we are able to 
bear; and that he will, with the temptation, make a 
way to escape. That assurance is the Christian's safe- 
guard through ail the strategems and assaults of his 
spiritual enemies. God's delivering grace is always at 
hand, but only those who are trying to live up to duty 
can rationally hope to appropriate and realize it. It 
is not in reach of the soul that is harboring sin. It 
is not for the heart that is barred by willful disobedi- 
ence against the Holy Spirit. There is a path of safety 
that God keeps open for his children, but that path is 
not visible to the eye that is dimmed by the mists of 
unrighteousness. All through life opportunity is con- 
ditioned upon the preparation that duty alone can se- 
cure. So every duty depends in a sense on the duties 
that preceded. The duty of to day decides the ques- 
tion of preparation for the duty, and so for the oppor- 
tunity, of to-morrow. If you are unfaithful to-day, 
you i-annot take your proper place and do your proper 
work to-morrow. Be ready, then, by being true to 
duty. Be ready, for life is one continuous succession 
of new duties — and every new duty is the key to new 
opportunity. Be ready to receive and God will give. 
Be ready to pray and God will answer. Be ready to 
trust and God will comfort, sustain and save. Be 
ready to resist and Satan will cower and flee. Be 
ready to work and God will help and bless and crown 
you with success. Be ready to sacrifice for truth and 
right and the salvation of souls, and God will accept 
your offering and give exceeding great rewards. Be 



34 North Carolina Sermons. 

to suffer, and God, by the alchemy of redeeming love, 
will change your pains and sorrows to heavenly peace 
and undying glory. Be ready for the will of God, and 
then you shall be ready to live or to die ; and, dying, 
shall enter forever the Home of the Sainted — the City 
of God. 



THE ELEMENTS AND POWER OF RELIGION. 

By Rev. B. York, D. D., 

Of the North Carolina Local Ministers' Conference, and 
President of New Salem and Randleman High School. 



If ye know these things, happy are ye, if ye do them. — 
John xiii : 17. 

Religion is a term invented to express the covenant 
relation existing, or rather subsisting, between God, 
the Creator, arid man, His rational creature; between 
God, the Redeemer, and man, the redeemed; between 
God, the Holy Ghost, the Sanctifier, and man. the 
sanctified. According to the conditions of this cove- 
nant, God, on His part, though under no obligation to 
do so, has promised to bestow upon him all needed 
good — grace here and glory hereafter; "The Lord 
will give grace and glory : no good thing will 
he withhold from them that walk uprightly." Pro- 
vided that man, on his part, render to him the su- 
preme affections of his heart, and the constant service 
of his life. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with 
all thy heart, soul, mind and strength." Man's highest 
interest and greatest happiness are inseparably con- 
nected with the discharge of the duties which he owes 
to God, and his fellow men, and the measure of his 
happiness is the faithfulness with which he discharges 
these duties. 



The Elements and Power of Religion. 35 

The elements of our holy religion, as suggested by 
our text, are knowledge, obedience and happiness. 
If ye know and do these things, happiness results 
from these as a consequence. It is a possible thing for 
one to know his dut}^ and not do it, and this, perhaps, 
will be the bitterest element in the cup of woe of the 
lost — ye knew your duty, but ye did it not — this ever 
glaring before the eyes, in characters of fire, and ever 
sounding in the agonized ear, will be hell enough ; 
but it is impossible for one to do his duty and not 
know it. 

I. Knowledge • " If ye know these things." Since 
man cannot discharge his duty without knowing it, 
knowledge is an essential element of our holy religion : 
we must know God as a sin-pardoning God — know 
that we have passed from death unto life, and, that 
the life which we now live, we live by faith in the 
Son of God. 

The sources of religious knowledge are numerous 
and various, nor are they sealed fountains, but open 
and free to all, for 

"The happy gates of gospel grace, 

Stand open night and day ; 
Lord, we are come to seek supplies, 

And drive our wants away." 

1. The Book of Nature, full of Instruction, lies open 
to the inspection and gaze of the peasant as well as 
the philosopher, everywhere, whether in the heights 
above or the depths below, whether in the immense 
ocean, or the lofty mountain, or in the starry vault 
above, we see thiiJ bot prints of De itv. The tiny flower 
and the slender spire of grass, as well as the huge, 
celestial orbs that roll on high, speak a language not 
to be misunderstood, " There is a God." 

" The hand that formed us is Divine." The belief 
in the existence of a God, underlies every system of 
true religion ; for, " He that cometh to God, must be- 



36 North Carolina Sermons. 

lieve that he is, and that he is a re warder of them that 
diligently seek him." If anything exists now, some- 
thing always existed ; but something does exist now ; 
therefore something always existed ; for there is no 
absurdity greater than to affirm, or even to suppose 
that nothing can produce something, or that a nonentity 
can pr duce an entity. 

The theory of evolution, as taught by Huxley, Dar- 
win and Tyndall, is so absurd and contradictory both 
to the senses and experience of mankind, that to name 
it i^ to refute it; then behind the visible creation, 
the material universe, there exists a being who could 
have had no beginning, consequently no ending: this 
Being is God, Jehovah, " who alone inhabiteth eter- 

> lity -" ft 
Y i- The magnitude of the works of APeation proclaims 

His almighty power; for it is difficult to suppose that 
any power less than omnipotent, could produce such 
tremendous effects. Oar cent ral sun, for instance is 
so huge that it is difficult for the mind to grasp it ; it 
would fill all the space between the earth and 
the moon, and extend more than five hundred 
thousand miles beyond. There are doubtless many 
other bodies in the material universe whose mag- 
nitude far exceeds that of our central sun, which 
are the central suns of their respective systems, around 
which revolves a train of planets both primary and 
secondary; and when we take into consideration the 
magnitude and immensity of the works of Nature, and 
the tremendous velocity with which many of these 
vast bodies move around their respective centres, even 
exceeding a thousand miles a minute, we are over- 
whelmed with wonder and amazement, and can only 
exclaim, " Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord 
God Almight}' I" 

i* The l aw and order which everywhere obtain, pro- 
claim the wisdom of the Great Creator : the smallest 



i 



The Elements and Power op Religion. 37 

particle as well as the hugestorb that rolls on high, is 
alike controlled by law, the planets have been moving 
in their respective orbits for nearly six thousand years, 
from which they have never swerved, nor have they 
come in collision with each other. •'According to the 
law of gravitation, material bodies cannot be so far 
removed from each other that they will not be mutu- 
ally affected by law; consequently law must extend 
throughout the material universe; and beyond the 
material universe there is a spiritual world which, at 
present, we cannot know ; but doubtless law as^defi- 
nite and determinate must obtain among the beings of 
that world as in the material universe ; hence law and 
order must extend through ail the works of God, 
whether material or spiritual, animate or inanimate. 

The magnificeme of the works of Nature creclares the 
surpassing glory of the Great Creator ; for " the heav- 
ens declare the glory of God, and the firmament 
showeth his handiwork." " Day unto day day uttereth 
speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. 
There is no speech nor language where their voice is 
not heard. Their line is gone out through all the 
earth, and their words to the end of the world. In 
them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun which is as 
a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and re- 
joiceth,as a strong man to run a race." If the sun in 
his noon-tide glory is, as the poet supposes, but the 
shade of his Almighty Creator, what must be the glory 
of the eternal Jehovah himself. 

"The sun himself is but thy shade, yet cheers both 
earth and sky." 

y Moses, the servant of God, besought God to show 
him his glory ; but he was told that no man could see 
his face, i. e., the full orbed splendor of God's glory, 
and live ; hence, Moses, being placed in the cleft of 
the rock, and shielded by the hand of Jehovah, was 
only permitted to see his back parts, the faintest rays 
of divine glory. 



38 North Carolina Sermons. 

The book of Nature speaks plainly and clearly of the 
goodness of the Creator. Though the curse conse- 
quent upon the disobedience and fall of the first pair 
has marred and blurred much of the original beauty 
of creation, and though sin has flung its blasting, 
blighting mildew upon earth's fairest, sweetest flowers ; 
yet enough of good and beauty remains to convince 
the most obdurate of the benevolent design of the 
maker of all things 

„& The Bible, the biblos, emphatically the book of 
Gocffifis an inexhaustible source of religious knowledge 
of truths the most vital and important to our race. 
It co ntains the will of our heavenly Father; it unfolds 
the mystery of the visible creation; it gives us the 
only rational account of the origin of the human race, 
which to t?he wisest and most learned of the ancient 
philosophers, was a dark unknown. We find in it the 
heaven-invented plan of human redemption, of salva- 
tion or deliverance from sin, and thetyrrany of Satan, 
through the atoning blood and merits of Christ; it has 
brought " life and immortality to light," through the 
gospel of the blessed Son of God. Here we find opened 
up a new and living way leading from the darkness, 
sorrows and death of earth, to the light, joy and life 
of heaven ; a line of living light or gospel truth, ex- 
tending from the foot of the Cross to the top of the 
throne in heaven. 

Precious Book! Who can estimate its value? Read 
it, study it; for in it 'ye think ye have eternal life.' 
"Seek ye out the book of the Lord and read," and 
'learn to do well.' 

^3. The Church with her living ministry, and Sab- 
bath Schools, is a very fertile source of religious knowl- 
edge, the heaven appointed means for the enlighten- 
ment of mankind and the conversion of the world. 
She is the salt of the earth, the light of the world, the 
city set upon a hill that cannot be hid, the burning 



The Elements and Power of Religion. 39 

bush of the desert, from which issues the voice of Je- 
hovah. Christ, the great Master, has reserved to him- 
self the right of choosing his own instruments for 
carrying on his own work, and choosing his own min- 
isters ; — "ye have not chosen me; but I have chosen 
you, and ordained you that ye should bring forth much 
fruit." 

Such is the variety of talents of scientific and liter- 
ary attainments in the ministry that all classes of men 
can be suited, and left without excuse. She has her 
logical Pauls, men deeply skilled in Biblical lore, who, 
like the learned Scribes, can bring forth out of their 
treasury of knowledge things both wew and old. She 
has her silver-tongued Appo!o-es, men unsurpassed in 
the power of eloquence. She has her thundering Pe- 
ters, men eminent for their zeal, men who can hurl the 
thunderbolts of the broken law witn great power and 
effect against the ramparts of sin and Satan; but 
whatever may be their variety of talents and attain- 
ments, 'they are all yours, and ye are Christ's, and 
Christ's is God's.' 

If. Obedience. "If ye do these things." Obedi- 
ence consists in doing whatever God has commanded, 
and forbearing to do whatever lie has prohibited. 
Obedience must be universal, complete, to be available. 
' We must have respect unto all God's commandments 
if we would never be put to shame,' for " whosoever 
shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, 
he is guilty of all " It is not enough to know our 
duty; but we must do it; our obedience must be ac- 
tive and complete so far as we know, or can know, our 
duty. There is, perhaps, no snare laid in the path of 
christian duty more subtle and dangerous than that of 
partial obedience, or what some are wont to call little 
sins; they indulge in some things which they know 
and acknowledge are wrong, and excuse themselves by 
saying, " if we are lost for indulging in these little sids, 
what will become of those who sin unblushingly i 



G 



4:0 North Carolina Sermons. 

the face of the sun, who walk contrary both to the 
laws of God and man ? To this we can only say that 
their doom is fixed, and their damnation certain, un- 
less prevented by timely repentance; but who made 
these lawless men a standard by which to measure 
ourselves? We should not measure ourselves even by 
our ourselves ; but by the straight edge of God's word, 
which is the only rule by which the moral quality of 
our actions can be determined. 

It is a little thing in itself to eat an apple; but when 
done in violation of God's law, as in the case of Eve, 
it corrupted the fountain head of human existence, 
and " Nature signing through all her works, gave 
signs that all was lost;" it filled the earth with disease 
and death, and conversed this once fair world into one 
continuous grave yard. It was a small thing in itself 
for one to look back when fleeing from a city devoted 
to destruction ; but, when this was done, as in the case 
of Lot's unfortunate wife, in violation of law, the of- 
fender was turned into a pillar of salt, which stands, 
metaphorically speaking, through all future ages, as 
a monument of warning to all violators of law. " Re- 
member Lot's wife." 

Saul, the first king of Israel, was commanded to 
take his army and utterly destroy the Amaleckites who, 
as a nation, had filled up their cup of iniquity — they 
were accursed, devoted to utter destruction. Saul 
went, and left, perhaps, no person alive, either male or 
female, except Agag the king ; but he spared the best 
of the flocks and herds, under the pretense of sacrificing 
to God ; but he was gravely told by Samuel the prophet, 
that " to obey is better than sacrifice, and to barken 
than the fat of rams." Saul did tnuch, but he did not 
do all; his obedience was only partial ; consequently 
he lost his crown, his throne, his kingdom ; nor would 
repentauce, however bitter, avail. Many, we have 
reason to fear, will lose a crown, a throne, a kingdom 
in heaven, by trusting in partial obedience. 



The Elements and Power op Religion. 41 

Sin, call it what we may, is sin, and sin defiles the 
soul ; consequently is sufficient to bar heaven against 
the unclean ; for nothing unholy, impure, or unclean 
can enter there. We have an example of another 
failure, in the case of Herod Antipas, of whom the 
Evangelist says., " For Herod feared John, knowing 
that he was a just man, and a holy, and observed him ; 
and, when he heard him, he did many things, and 
heard him gladly." — Mark vi : 20. Herod did many 
things, but he did not do everything John commanded 
him ; for John plainly told him that it was unlawful 
for him to have Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, as 
his brother Philip was still living; but in this partic- 
ular Herod disobeyed, as, one sin generally leads to 
another, he first shut John up in prison, and next to 
please a dancing girl, and gratify the murderous de- 
signs of Herodias, lie committed the highest crime 
known to the laws of God or man ; for he sent an ex- 
ecutioner, and beheaded this holy man in prison. 
Herod, no doubt in consequence of this concatena- 
tion of crimes, growing out of his partial obedience, 
fell into a series of disasters ; his father in-law, Aretas, 
king of Arabia, for the treatment of his daughter, 
whom Herod had married, but had now divorced to 
make room for the incestuous Herodias, declared war 
against him, and defeated him. He then fled to Rome 
with his wife, Herodias, to ask of the Emperor the 
title of King; but he was there accused of Agrippa 
of treasonable designs against the Roman government, 
for which he was banished by Caius, the Roman Em- 
peror, to Lyons, a dreary abode in Gaul ; but we are 
told by Josephus that he died in Spain ; but whatever 
place may have been the scene of his death, he died a 
disgraced exile. As to the condition of Herod in the 
spiritual world, we know nothing; but we know his 
life was stained with full many a crime which, if not 
washed out by repentance towards God, and faith in 
the atoning blood of Christ, must have prevented him 



42 North Carolina Sermons. 

from entering that peaceful abode to which that holy 
man whom he beheaded in prison, has long since 
gone. 

It would be well for all who are seeking for the title 
of king and priest in the upper and better kingdom to 
shun the sin of partial obedience, lest they, after all, 
should be banished from the peaceful presence of God, 
and the glory of His power. 

III. Happiness. " Happy are ye." Happiness is 
the natural result, or logical sequence of the other 
two elements, knowledge and obedience. It is not 
said ye shall be happy ; but ye are happy now : 
happy in the consciousness of having known, and done 
your duty. Happy in every condition and circum- 
stance of life ; happy in youth, happy in manhood's 
middle da) 7 , happy in old age, the evening of life; for 
"they shall still be bearing fruit in old age;" happy in 
health, happy in sickness, happy in the sunshine of 
prosperity, happy in the shade of adversity ; happy 
in life, happy in death, and happy through all the 
ages of eternity. Happiness may be predicated of all 
who know their duty, and do it; thus, "If ye know 
these tilings, and do them, ye are happy." All well 
instructed christians know these things, (their duty) 
and do them ; therefore they are happy. Happiness 
can never be separated from the soul that knows its 
duty, and does it; for what God hath joined together 
no creature can put asunder. 

You may as well attempt to pluck the naming orb 
of day from the firmament, to arrest the planets in 
their course, to lull the storm-lashed ocean into still- 
ness and peace, or roll back the fiery flood from the 
crater of some thundering volcano, as to attempt to 
separate the soul from happiness, that knows its duty, 
and does it. " For I am pursuaded." saith the great 
Apostle of the Gentiles, " that neither death, nor life, 
nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things 
present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, 



The Elements and Power of Religion. 43 

nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us 
from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our 
Lord." 

Such is the power of religion that it can stop the 
mouths of lions, quench the raging fire, turn prisons 
into palaces, and convert the ignominious cross, the 
gibbit and the burning stake into a glorious triumph. 
A Daniel could pillow his head upon the shaggy mane 
of the lion, and sweetly dream of heaven ; the three 
Hebrew children, Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, 
could walk unhurt amid the fiery furnace, while the 
curling flames entwined around them as sheets of 
glory; Paul and Silas, with their hands fettered, and 
fcbe*ir feet fast in the stocks, at midnight, could sing 
praises to God ; and a Stephen, expiring under a shower 
of stones, could say, " I see the heavens opened, and 
Jesus standing on the right-hand of God." 

" 'Tis religion that can give 
Sweetest pleasures while we live, 
Solid comforts when we die, 
Joys complete above the sky." 

But from what does this exquisite happiness of the 
soul arise? 

1. From a consciousness of having faithfully dis- 
charged the duties which we owe both to God and 
man, or, in other words, having a conscience void of 
offence both toword God and man ; for a good con- 
science is a never failing source of happiness. 

" Quick as the apple of an eye, 
Oh, God, my conscience make! 
Awake my soul when sin is nigh, 
And keep it still awake.'' 

2. From a knowledge of sins forgiven, a blessed as- 
surance that we have passed from death unto life. 

"Lord, how secure and blest are they 
Who feel the joys of pardoned sin ! 
Should storms of wrath shake earth and sea, 
Their minds have heaven and peace within." 



44 North Carolina Sermons. 

3. From a well grounded hope of a blissful immor- 
tality beyond this vale of tears and scene of dying ; 
" for the righteous hath hope in his death." " And 
hope maketh not ashamed ; because the love of God 
is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which 
is given unto us." 

4. From doing good both to the souls and bodies of 
men ; for the greatest happiness which we can enjoy 
here is found b}' imitating the example of our blessed 
Redeemer who went about doing good, and who de- 
clared that 'it is more blessed to give than to receive.' 
And the great Apostle of the Gentiles admonishes 
us, " As ye have opportunity, do good to all men, es- 
pecial ly to the household of faith." 

" Show my forgetful feet the way 
That leads to joys on high, 
Where knowledge grows without decay, 
And love shall never die." 



PRESENT FAITH— PRESENT BLESSING. 

By Rev. J. C. Rowje, 

Of the North Carolina Conference. 



Verily, I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in 
Paradise. — Luke xxiii : 43. 

Isaiah declared, 712 years before Christ was born, 
that He was numbered with the transgressors. St. 
Mark says this scripture was fulfilled in the crucil 
ion of Christ. For he was crucified with two thieve! 
one on his right hand, and the other on his left. One 
of these thieves, commonly called the penitent thief, 
to distinguish him from the other, offered a prayer to 
Jesus, in humility and faith, saying " Lord remember 



Present Faith — Present Blessing. 45 

me when thou comest into thy kingdom." He did 
not ask, like the sons of Zebedee, for a share of Christ's, 
regal honors ; but for a single remembrance of him- 
self when Chri-t should come into possession of his 
kingdom. Jt was a prayer of fa ith. No prince was 
ever fartheri'rom a kingdom than Christ seemingly 
was on the day of his death. All the visible sur- 
roundings were against him, so that, an earthly king- 
dom was not within his grasp. And, as for a spiritual 
kingdom, Jesus complains of abandonment of his 
God. So that he appears at the farthest extreme from 
any kingdom at all. He had just laid off a crown of 
thorns and mock robes of royalty. He was now suf- 
fering the ceremonially accursed death of the Cross. 
Cursed and condemned to death by the Jews, and ex- 
ecuted by the Romans, where could be the hope of a 
kingdom ? 

y/ But the mind of the penitent thief took a higher 
lift, and a view reaching through these dark, sorrow- 
ful scenes to the calm that follows the storm. He 
saw the meekness under raillery, the patience in death- 
tortures, and submission to the authority of man, in 
Christ approximating their greatest possible depths. 
I Nature attests Christ's kingship in her pall of dark- 
ness over the land, in the trembling earth, and rend- 
ing rocks. The thief, seeing all these phenomena, 
felt himself in the presence of a Lordly being, in 
whom his faith centered, and he exclaimed, " Lord re- 
member me when thou comest into thy kingdom." 
Jesus replied in the assuring words of the text, 
" Verily, I say unto thee, to day shalt thou be with me 
in Paradise." 

J* The first proposition we deduce from the text is 
that man is a compound being, composed of a mate- 
rial and an immaterial part. He has a body and a 
soul. The body, or material part, of the penitent 
thief has gone back to dust long ago, and is some- 



46 North Carolina Sermons. 

where now on earth. Jesus spoke to an undying soul, 
saying to it, "Today shalt thou be with me in para- 
dise." This soul is the immaterial part. 

Matter has at least five essential properties, viz : 
fiuo penetrability, figure, extension, inertia, divisibility. 
These properties inhere in matter and are essential to 
its existence. 

Matter has accidental properties, such as hardness, 
softness, sweetness, sourness. It may have one or more 
of these accidental qualities, and lack others. But the 
properties given as essential, are absolutely necessary 
to the existence of matter. With them there is ma- 
terial substance, without them there is not. By im- 
penetrability is meant that quality of matter which 
makes it impossible for two material bodies to occupy 
the same space at the same time. By figure is meant 
that bodies have shape of some kind. They may be 
circular, or angular, or amorphous. Figure is essen- 
tial. The kind of figure is accidental. By extension 
is meant that material bodies possess length, breadth 
and depth, and may be weighed or measured. By in- 
ertia is meant the passiveness of matter, or its ten- 
dency to remain at rest when at rest, and to continue 
to move when in motion. 

These five properties, we know, are in all material 
bodies. When we use the terms expressive of them, 
in regard to matter, we are easily understood, because 
the terms are applicable to all material substances. 
But not one of these terms is relevant to the soul. 
Yet experience teaches us that we possess all these 
qualities in our bodies, in common with all material 
substances. The properties of the so.ul are thought, 
reason, memory, choice, love, hatred, will, joy and 
grief. We know that we possess these qualities, and 
that they do not belong to matter. No organism, 
without the living spirit or immaterial part, can pos- 
sess these psychological elements. This immaterial 
soul was the true self of the penitent thief, and so it 



Present Faith — Present Blessing. 47 

is of us all. His body, dead, hung cold and crimson 
on the cross ; but his soul at the same time was tra- 
versing the floral fields of paradise in company with 
Jesus. 

How great is man in his immaterial part. A brother 
to the angels, and a son of God. With his intellect 
and will-force, he strides the earth with railroads, rides 
the ocean's waves, and sends his messages on the 
wings of the lightning. 

Our second deduction from the text is, that believers 
go immediately after death, into happiness and heaven. 
" To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise." There are 
various hypotheses on the location and condition of 
the soul after death. 

The first hypothesis is that the soul is somewhere in 
a state of sleep and unconsciousness. In this state it 
is to remain until the trumpet-blast shall arrest the 
works of time, and the voice of Jesus goes tearing 
through the graves, the sea, hell, and hades, raising 
the dead and breaking the sleep of the soul. This 
view is closely connected with materialism, which 
teaches that the soul is so dependent on the body as 
that it cannot exist in a conscious state separated from 
the body. Consequently, when the bod}' dies the soul 
loses its consciousness and sensibilities. Until the 
resurrection arouses it, it sleeps with no knowledge; 
but after the reunion of body and soul, consciousness 
and sensibility will be restored. 

The fatal objection to this theory is that it is not 
only without scriptural support; but the scriptures 
are directly against it. Abraham, Lazarus and Dives 
were all wide awake when Dives appealed to Abra- 
ham to send Lazarus to alleviate his suffering. 

A second hypothesis is the Romish doctrine of pur- 
gatory. It is said that nothing impure or defiled can 
enter heaven. But most christians are guilty of ve- 
nial sins. These must be punished, but they do not 



48 North Carolina Sermons. 

deserve eternal punishment. Therefore, God has pre- 
pared a purgatorial element through which these souls 
must pass on their way to heaven. This fiery passage 
purges away the moral blemishes and cleanses the 
soul for heaven. This doctrine detracts from the all- 
sufficiency of Christ's atonement, to that extent that 
it ascribes sin-cleansing properties to punishment in- 
stead of the blood of Christ. The doctrine of a pur- 
gatory may be pleasing to man ; but the Holy Ghost 
nowhere teaches it. The Bible doctrine, as understood 
by protestantism, is that- after death they that are holy 
are to be holy still, they that are filthy are to be filthy 
still. " If the tree fall toward the south or toward the 
north, in the place where the tree falleth there it shall 
lie." — Eccl. 11:3. This passage means that the 
moral state in which, we die will be our state in the 
eternal world. '•' Blessed are the dead which die in 
the Lord from henceforth ; yea, saith the Spirit, that 
they may rest from their labors, and their works do 
follow them." Death and rest are closely connected. 
Lazarus was carried by angels to Abraham's bosom — 
not to purgatory. 

' ' Soon as from earth I go 

What will become of me ? 
Eternal happiness or woe 
Must then my portion be." 

A third hypothesis is that paradise and heaven are 
two places. Accbding to this theory paradise is the 
receptacle of departed spirits; a place where they re- 
main in a state of freedom from sin. They are happy 
in anticipation of the blessedness that still awaits 
them in the third heaven. Here they rest until after 
the resurection of the body. Then soul and body, in- 
separably united, go into the third heaven. There 
are three heavens recognized in the Bible. The first 
is the region of atmosphere that surrounds the earth, 
called the aerial heaven. The second is the region of 



Present Faith — Present Blessing. 49 

the stars, called the stella heaven. The third heaven 
is God's more immediate dwelling place, where God 
reveals his presence on the throne of his glory; where 
the glorified humanity of Jesus is, for he is set down 
on the right-hand of the Majesty on high. This the 
common center of Deity around which the angels and 
the redeemed are congregated. This heaven is sup- 
posed to be beyond the starry region. Our present 
theory holds that no soul has ever been admitted into 
the third heaven. 

Paradise is said to be somewhere in hades, that 
souls go to paradise and rest, in conscious salvation, 
till after the general judgment, then they go into the 
third heaven. The following texts of Scripture are 
the basis upon which this doctrine rests : John 20 : 17. 
Christ said to Mary after his resurrection, "Touch me 
not; for I am not yet ascended to my fattier" He 
had been to paradise. For he promised the thief to 
be with hira in paradise on the day of the crucifixion. 
But here he says he had not ascended to his Father. 
The conclusions drawn are that paradise and the third 
heaven, the dwelling place of the Father, are two 
place?. The thief went to paradise, therefore para- 
dise is the receptacle of disembodied spirits. To this 
1 answer, that when Christ spoke of himself as not 
having ascended lo the Father, he referred to his body, 
not to his soul, not his divine nature, but to that newly 
risen body to whose feet Mary was clinging. This 
body had not, and did not, ascend until forty days 
after. John 3:13 is another proof text of this the- 
ory : "No man hath ascended up to heaven but he 
that came down from heaven, even the son of man, 
which is in heaven." Now, suppose we set this text 
against Christ's expression to Mary. To her he says 
he had not ascended. Here he says tacitly, that the 
son of man had ascended, then this must be the con- 
clusion that Christ was not the son of man. But he 



50 North Carolina Sermons. 

uses the word ascended in different senses, and in ref- 
erence to different, things. When addressing Mary lie 
refers to his body, and declares that it had not as- 
cended. When speaking to the " ruler in Israel " he 
was " correcting 'a false notion among the Jews, that 
Moses had ascended to heaven in order to get the law. 
Moses did not ascend to heaven, but the son of man is 
come down from heaven to reveal the divine will. 
(Clarke.) He here says nothing in regard to departed 
spirits, Heb. 1 1 : 2>\). " And these all having obtained, 
a good report, through faith, received not the prom- 
ise." 

This text is said to mean that God reserves in para- 
dise all the holy dead, until the last soul shall be 
saved, in order that all the members of God's univer- 
sal church, may receive the fulfillment of the promise 
of the heavenly glory together. But this text refers 
to the superior advantages of the Christian over the 
Jewish dispensation. The promise is that often re- 
peated promise of Christ to come as a "child born, a 
son given." There was promised a root of Jesse, whiuh 
should stand for an ensign of the people. The Gen- 
tiles were to seek unto it, and his rest was to be glori- 
ous. Those ancient worthies had faith in these prom- 
ises, but never experienced their fulfillment. The 
Christian dispensation and the Jewish dispensation are 
indissoluble linked together. One would be yery im- 
perfect without the other. The Church is perfected in 
making both subserve her purposes. The Jewish dis- 
pensation was but a systematizing of the laws, sacri- 
fice?, and ceremonies of the Church in all ages prior 
to the day of pentecost. In these former dispen- 
sations the foundation of the Church is laid. The 
Christian dispensation adds the fulfillment of the 
promise, the beauty, the grandeur, and the glory, to 
the building. So these two dispensations hang to- 
gether .and perfect God's Church. In the above text 
the apostle does not teach the whereabouts of those 



Present Faith — Present Blessing. 51 

departed spirits at all. He shows the strength of their 
faith under types. They worshipped God through a 
promised Redeemer, but died without an actual ful- 
fillment of that promise. They never literally saw 
the Christ in the flesh. This theory originates in the 
idea of an intermediate state. The intermediate state 
is the period between the death and resurrection of the 
body. Of course there is such a state. The happiness 
of the soui will he increased after the resurrection. 
An intermediate state does not necessitate an interme- 
diate place. Many states may be experienced in one 
place. 

In the fourth place, we establish the proposition as 
deduced from the text. " To-day" s-ays Christ, "sbalt 
thou be with me in paradise" I believe that the third 
heaven and the paradise of God are one place. In 2 
Cor. 12:1 — 4, St. Paul says, "It is not expedient for 
me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and rev- 
elations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ about 
fourteen years ago, whether in body, I cannot tell ; or 
whether out of the body I cannot tell ; God knoweth : 
such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I 
knew such a man, whether in the body or out of the 
body; I cannot tell : God knoweth: how that he was 
caught up into paradise and heard unspeakable words, 
which it is not lawful for a man to utter." Here I 
understand the apostle to speak of but one place, but 
he first calls it the third heaven, and when he repeats 
he calls it paradise. Rev. 2 : 7 : "To him that over- 
cometh will I give to' eat of the tree of life, which is 
in the midst of the paradise of God." That is, to be 
a partaker of all the blessedness that the atonement of 
Christ procures, and live forever. Rut this blessedness 
is "to him that overcometh," therefore it is in the 
next world. This promise implies the highest state of 
heaven^ happiness It is to be enjoyed in paradise. 

I believe it is universally admitted that the tree of 
life means Jesus Christ. Christ is in heaven, there- 



52 North Carolina Sermons. 

fore paradise and heaven are one place. That believ- 
ers go direct to heaven at death answers Christ's prayer 
in John 17 : 24 : "Father, I will that they also that thou 
hast given me, be with me where I am." Now, where is 
Christ? Let St. Paul answer, Heb. 1:3: " When he 
had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right- 
hand of the Majesty on high." Heb. 8:1: "We 
have such a high priest who is set on the right hand 
of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens." St. 
Peter also, 1 Pet. 3:22: "Who is gone into heaven 
and is on the right hand of God." Christ prayed that 
those whom God had given him might be with nim 
where he is. Paul says, 2 Cor. 5 : 6 — S : " Whilst we 
are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord." 
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be ab- 
sent from the body and present with the Lord. He 
does not here mean the omnipresence of the Lord, for 
we are enveloped in that. He speaks of the presence 
of the glorified Jesus as constituted of humanity and 
divinity. 

Then how blessed are the righteous dead. What a 
change death produces One moment in the body suf- 
fering pain, the next moment in heaven, where no in- 
habitant ever says " I am sick.'' While we look upon 
the cold, dead body, they look upon the king in his 
beauty. While we hear the heart-rending sobs of 
bereavement, and., the dismal rumbling of the clods 
burying the body, they hear heavens choral anthems, 
and the music of the harpers harping with their harps. 
" Death is the gate to endless joy. And yet we dread 
to enter there." 

Our third proposition is that it is possible for God 
to save a soul in the death-hoar and take it to heaven. 
Perhaps nojsoul was ever- nearer hell, and yet went to 
heaven, than the penitent thief. The pains of death 
were tearing through his heart. His soul was strug- 
gling to disengage itself from the suffering body. Al- 



Present Faith — Present Blessing. 53 

ready devils stood around to drag it awa}\ The gates 
of hell stood ajar for its incoming. But the atone- 
ment of Christ sweeps under it and lifts it up trium- 
phantly to paradise. The penitent thief is an ex- 
ample of God's power to save. But this example is 
without a single precept in all the Bible. God no- 
where promises to save to-morrow, but il to day is the 
day of salvation," and " now is the accepted time." 
Therefore, while it is called to day repent and harden 
not your heart. The salvation of the penitent thief 
vindicated Christ's claims to divinity. His enemies 
stood around the Cross reviling him. They mocked 
his saving power, saying, "he saved others, himself 
he cannot save." The devils, in the kingdom of dark- 
ness, thought that they had gained a signal victory 
over Jehovah. Hell thundered with the shouts of 
triumph over the son of God. But when all seemed 
certain, Jesus at last brought low, He speaks with 
the voice of God that wrests the prey out of the jaws 
of the destroyer, and saves the thief in heaven. De- 
mons fell back astounded. Hell was hushed, in un- 
expected defeat. And the centurion said, " surely, 
this was the son of God." 

Anciently, when kings were crowned, the water 
pipes of the royal city flowed with pure wine. The 
prison doors were thrown open, and the criminals per- 
mitted to walk out in the enjoyment of free citizen- 
ship and full pardon. All this because the coronation 
day must be a day of universal joy. Newly crowned 
kings must do noble deeds. The day of the crucifixion 
was Christ's coronation day. He was crowned " King 
of Kings " and " Lord of Lords ;" crowned Mediator be- 
tween God and man. He receives all power in heaven 
and on earth. The thief was in the galling fetters of 
sin. Jesus bursts the prison of the dying thief and 
invests him with angelic liberty. He gives him the 
4 



54 North Carolina Sermons. 

new wine of his blood to drink. They, hand in hand, 
fly up the serial pathway to paradise. 

Lastly, let us notice the assurance Christ gives of 
the performance of this promise. " Verily, I say unto 
thee." The form of oath used by Jehovah in the Old 
Testament is, " As I live saith the Lord." The Jeho- 
vah of the Old Testament is the Jesus Christ of the 
New Testament. His form of oath changes from "As 
I live saith the Lord " to li Verily, I say unto you." 
He who has always been faithful in all his promises 
confirms his most important declarations with an oath. 
Reader, may God say to you and to me on the day of 
our death, " Verily, I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou 
be with me in paradise." May we meet in heaven, 
and together with Jesus, walk the floral hills, drink 
the crystal waters, and eat the ambrosial fruit, and 
live forever. 



MUTABLE AND IMMUTABLE. 

By Rev. M. V. Sherrill, 

Of the North Carolina Conference. 



Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth 
through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see 
that ye love one another with a, pure heart fervently: Being 
born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by 
the word of God. which liveth and abideth forever. For all 
flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of 
grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth 
away. But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this 
is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. — I Pe- 
ter, 1:22 25. 

This text suggests two prominent thoughts for our 
consideration. And, reversing the order in which the 
Apostle has placed them, we notice 

1. The contrast presented between the brevity of human 
life and the perpetuity of Divine truth. 



Mutable and Immutable. 55 

This is expressed by the propositions, " For all flesh 
is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of 
grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof 
falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for- 
ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is 
preached unto you." 

How simple and solemn the figures here employed. 
Human life is so brief that it is aptly compared to the 
grass, which only lives for a season ; a striking em- 
blem of the death-doomed race. Spring comes with 
all its enchanting beauty and exhilirating loveliness, 
its gentle showers and genial sunshine, its resurrect- 
ing influences and life-giving forces ; and on mounds 
and meadows, lawns and landscapes, the tender spires 
of grass appear ; and ere summer reaches the noon, 
the earth is covered with a variegated carpet, and the 
terrestial ball rolls on, with its green convexity, pre- 
senting a lovelier, more attractive and life-like aspect. 
Beautiful world ! 

" There's beauty in the sunshine, 
There's beauty in the shower; 
There's beauty in the wild-wood, 
There's beauty in the flower." 

But the beauty is short-lived. The freshness is soon 
to fade. Scorched by the direct rays of the summer's 
sun, and nipped by the blasting autumn winds, the 
grass pales, and withers, and dies. How brief its ex- 
istence ! It seemed scarcely to have commenced to 
live, when it was doomed to die. And in the brevity 
of its life, and certainty of its death, it fitly represents 
man's mortal career. Death is the destiny of all flesh. 
How forcibly does the Psalmist draw the comparison 
between failing flesh and falling grass : '' As for man, 
his days are as grass ; as a flower of the field, so he 
flourisbetb. For the wind passeth over it, and it is 
gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more." 



56 North Carolina Sermons. 

And the sacred writers in a number of places, and by 
a variety of solemn figures, set forth the same sad 
truth. Human life is compared to the swiftness of the 
weaver's shuttle, the days of an hireling, the fading of 
a leaf, the fleetness of an arrow, the flash of a meteor. 
" Thou carrieth them away as with a flood ; they are as 
asleep; in the morning they are like grass which 
groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and grow 
eth up ; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth " 
Not only by these positive declarations of the word of 
God, but by our own observations of the past and the 
present, we are constancy reminded of our mortality. 
Look back to the days of your childhood, and how 
brief a period does it appear. Why, verily, it seems 
but a few days since you occupied your place in the 
delightful family circle around the blazing hearth- 
stone of the old domici!, cheerful and happy, regard- 
less of the wintry winds and howling storms without. 
Or since, with your youthful companions, you sported 
on the old school-house playing ground ; or under the 
spreading trees of your father's yard ; or as you 
romped over the field, plucked wild flowers in the 
forest, gathered fruit in the old orchard, bathed in the 
pure, limpid stream, or quenched your raging thirst 
at the crystal spring which flowed so copiously from 
the ledge of rocks at the foot of the hill. And yet, as 
short as the time seems since you enjoyed those gleeful 
hours, how many days and years have elapsed ! It 
may be that your sun of life has already passed its 
zenith, and is rapidly declining towards the western 
horizon. Plow short is life. How rapidly are the 
sands passing. How fast we approximate the tomb. 
From childhood to old age, from the cradle to the 
grave, how brief is the period of human existence. 
How soon is the glow of health and beauty paled from 
the cheek, the brightness quenched from the eye, the 
head silvered, the forehead wrinkled, the form stooped, 



Mutable and Immutable. 57 

the limbs trembling, the steps feeble ; then pulsation 
ceases, vitality ebbs out, and we are under the arrest of 
inexorable death, and numbered with the pale nations 
under ground. But the rider of the pale horse does 
not confine his summons to those whose feeble frames 
break down under the weight of years ; when ex- 
hausted nature can hold out no longer, and " the 
weary wheels of life must stand stilt at last." We 
not only see li the steps of age halt feebly to the 
tomb," and " fate descend in sudden night on man- 
hood's middle day ;" but how often 

" Our eyes have seen the rosy light, 
Of youth's soft cheek decay." 

How man}' are called away in infancy ? It has 
been computed that not less than fourteen thousand 
millions of infant souls already " compose the family 
above." And while there is comfort in the thought 
that there, their smiling angels are constantly behold- 
ing the face of their Heavenly Father; there is sad- 
ness in the reflection that here, even helpless infancy is 
not exempt from the fate of all flesh, and that, scat- 
tered all over this world, there are found so many lit- 
t'e graves. When we stand around the dying couch 
of a lovely child, and see the little sufferer draw the 
last breath ; the once beautiful eyes glazed, sunken 
and set; the once prattling tongue paralyzed; 
the once loved form, now cold and dead, placed 
in • its little coffin, with a wreath of fading flow- 
ers upon its little breast, and borne slowly, silently 
and solemnly to be laid away in its dark, damp, dis- 
mal little grave, and left in all the loneliness of the 
dreary grave-yard, where the long boughs of the weep- 
ing willow wave mournfully in the breeze, and all 
around is draped in gloom, with what thrilling force 
are we impressed with the solemn truth that " all flesh 
is as grass." 

But the glory of man is more transitory than life. 



58 North Carolina Sermons. 

It is compared to the flower of grass. The flower is 
more frail and shorter lived than the grass. It com- 
mences its existence later, and ends its days i ooner. In 
the morning it unfolds its soft petals and spreads them 
out to catch the early dew, be kissed by the rising sun, 
and send up its sweet fragrance as incense to the skies. 
We admire its beauty, inhale its fragrance, and wonder 
if such glory is made to perish. But often in a few 
hours these petals are scorched and withered by the 
noonday sun, scattered by the wind's untimely blast, 
and the beauty fades, the fragrance vanishes on the pass- 
ing breeze, and the glory has departed. So is the glory 
of man. Is it pride of beauty, or prowess, or fortune, or 
fame? Is it prestige of pedigree, or attainments, or soci- 
ology? Alas, how precarious! What is earthly splen- 
dor? A bubble upon the restless waves, destined soon 
to burst and vanish forever. What is worldly glory? 
How unsatisfying and uncertain. If a man is popular 
to-day, he may not be so to-morrow. The popular tide 
is liable to ebb as well as to flow. It depends upon 
public sentiment, which is vacillating. But if a man 
does succeed in grasping the covenanted laurels, how 
long can he expect to wear the fading crown? Where 
are the men of renown who lived and flourished in 
other days, Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Napoleon, 
Wellington, Washington, Jackson, Lee, and a host of 
others? Ah, where! The crowns of earthly glory 
have fallen from those honored heads long ago. And 
although much of their former fame ma}' yet remain 
in the memory of an appreciative and admiring pos- 
terity, yet if they are cognizant of the empty honors, 
how insipid they must appear to them now. 

And where are the monuments which ambitious 
men have reared to transmit their name and fame to 
posterity? Where are the proud cities of the past, 
Damascus, Nineveh, Babylon, Jerusalem ? Where are 
the magnificent mansions which once adorned those 



Mutable and Immutable. 



59 



cities, the wonders of architectural, skill and beauty 
with their glittering spires reaching heavenward? 
?hey have crumbled Ao dust. Ichabod is written upon 

1 But rU turn your attention from all this, and in 
striking contrast to all that is fragile and fugacious in 
he world, view something more solid and abiding 
than rocks and mountains, as firm as the pillars of 
heaven, and as immutable as the throne of God. 
This incorruptible seed, the word oi the Lord liveth 
and abideth forever." "But the word of the Lord 
endureth forever. And this is the word which by the 
gospel is preached unto you." Everything else may 
fade ; here is something imperishable. Heaven and 
earth may pass away, but one jot or one tittle of this 
world shall in no wise fail. One reason of this is that 
it is truth. Truth is immutable. Whatever is math- 
ematically or morally true, is eternally true How 
wonderfully has the Bible, God's word endured amid 
all the efforts for its destruction. It has successfully 
withstood the assaults of science and philosophy. It 
has stood firm as an adamantine stone against all 
the blasts from wit, satire and scurrility. Men oi 
prestige and power have attempted to suppress and 
destroy it ; but all in vain. By the crue edicts of in- 
carnate demons it has been condemned, banished ana 
burned ; and yet through every trying, fiery ordeal it 
has come out unscathed, and still ives, will survive 
the " wreck of matter and the crush of worlds, ana 
endure forever. While various forms of error have 
flashed upon the world with a fitful glare and then 
expired, leaving deeper, denser gloom, truth, as he 
shining light, that shineth more and more unto the 
perfect day." 

"Truth crushed to earth will rise again; 
The eternal years of God are hers ; 
While error, wounded, writhes in pain, 
And dies among her worshippers." 



^° North Carolina Sermons. 

< Another reason for the immutability of God's word 
is that it is a part of Himself. Truth is one of the 
essential and inseparable attributes of God. God is 
eternal. "Before the mountains wer* brought forth 
or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world' 
even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God " 
God is immutable. " Of old has thou laid the foun- 
dations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of 
thy hands; they shall perish, but thou shalt endure 
yea all of them shall wax old as a garment; and as a 
vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be 
changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall 
have no end." He. is " the father of lights, with 
whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of 
turning." "His counsels stand fast forever, and the 
thoughts of his heart to all generations." The word 
of God is a transcript of the Divine mind, and is as 
enduring as that mind itself. The word of God con- 
tains the principles of the Divine government and is 
as unchangeable as those principles, and as eternal as 
that government, " Lift up your eves to the heavens 
and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens' 
shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax 
old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall 
die in like manner ; but thy salvation shall be forever 
ana thy righteousness shall not be abolished" 
1 hough the mountains depart, and the hills be re- 
moved yet my kindness shall not depart from thee, 
nor snail the covenant of my peace be removed" 
How forcibly has this been illustrated in the history 
of the gospel of Jesus Christ, This, let us remember 
is not new truth, but as old as the enunciation of the 
pioneer promise of redemption. It is the same word 
of God. Under former dispensations it may be com- 
pared to a light shining in a dark place ; under the 
Christian dispensation to " the day dawn and the day 
star. Take that form and phase of the word, the 



Mutable and Immutable. 61 

gospel, as it flashed out so brilliantly from the per- 
sonal ministry of Jesus, and was left to be preached 
and propagated by His accredited embassadors ; and 
to human conception how feeble its beginning, and to 
human calculation how few were to be its days. What 
formidable and fierce opposition it met. Having for 
its enemies the mighty influence of the Roman em- 
pire, then mistress of the world, together with the 
prestige, prejudices and perverseness of the Jewish 
hierarchy, the learning of the polite Greeks and illus- 
trious Romans, the ignorance, superstition and im- 
posing ritual of pagan worship; and having for its 
friends and patrons a few illiterate, obscure, despised 
fishermen, yet how wonderful its success. It succeeded 
because those who fought its battles went around with 
the sword of the Spirit, "the word of God, which 
liveth and abideth forever." They went through fag- 
got and fire and flame; and though persecution 
fiercely raged, Christianity steadily progressed. And 
while hundreds sealed their devotion to truth with 
their lives at the stake, thousands rose Phoenix-wise 
from their funeral pyres, until it became a well settled 
proverb, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the 
Church." And so great was the spread, and so grand 
the triumph of truth, that in a hw centuries the Cross 
of Christ was planted on the proud throne of the 
Cassars. 

And the Church of God, embracing and teaching 
the doctrines of the Divinity and eternal sonship of 
Christ, is firmly founded upon this stable rock, "and 
the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Do not 
be alarmed, timid brother. Christianity is not a fail- 
ure. The word of God endureth, liveth and abideth 
forever. " Truth is mighty, and must prevail." 
Truth is prevailing. The gospel is conquering. The 
following table, prepared with great research and care 



62 North Carolina Sermons. 

by an eminent statistician, shows the wonderful pro 
gress of Christianity : 

First century, 500,090; second century, 2,000,000 
third century, "5,000,000 ; fourth century, 10,000,000 
fifth century, 15,000,000; sixth century, 20,000,000 
seventh century, 24,000,000 ; eighth century, 30,000,- 
000; ninth century, 40,000,000; tenth centurv, 50,- 
000,000; eleventh century, 70,000,000; twelfth cen- 
tury, 80,000,000; thirteenth century, 75,000,000 ; four- 
teeth century, 80,000,000 ; fifteenth century, 100,000,- 
000; sixteenth century, 125,000,000 ; seventeenth cen- 
tury, 150,000,000; eighteenth century, 200,000,000; 
nineteenth century, 400,000,000. 

2. The second prominent thought of the text is con- 
tained in these important propositions: 

1 hose who are born of this "incorruptible seed" who 
'purify their "souls by obeying the truth through the Spirit 
unto unfeigned love of the brethren" and " love one another 
with pure hearts fervently" are made partakers of the 
purity and perpeturity of Divine truth. 

Not that none others will exist perpetually. All are 
immortal, soul and body, whether saints or sinners. 
The soul, whether purified or polluted, is an imperish- 
able principle of life, and will last as long as God 
lives. Matter is indestructible. It may change in 
form and appearance, but it can never be destroyed. 
The term annihilation is not known in God's vocabu- 
lary. There is to be a resurrection both of the just 
and the unjust. The wicked will be raised to shame 
and everlasting contempt. Hence all, both in soul and 
body, are immortal. But God never designed nor de- 
sired that to live in eternal misery should be the nor- 
mal condition of any soul or body, but that both should 
be pure and perpetual. When man by sin forfeited 
the blessings of the primeval state, and plunged him- 
self into this fearful abnormal state, " we see Jesus, 
who was made a little lower than the angels, for the 



Mutable and Immutable. 63 

suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; 
that he by the grace of God should taste death for 
every man." In unfolding the grand and gracious 
scheme by which man might recover the inestimable 
boone of a forfeited purity and immortality Jesus, 
from amidst the astonished angels, " made himself of 
no reputation, and took upon him the form of a ser- 
vant, and was made in the likeness of men ; and be- 
ing found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, 
and became obedient unto death, even the death of 
the cross." And since God " hath highly exalted him, 
and given him a name which is above every name," 
the angels are not only bowing their knees before Him, 
and with their tongues confessing that He " is Lord, to 
the glory of God, the Father," but they are beholding 
in His glorified human nature the perfect model of 
what purified and sanctified humanity is capable of 
becoming and enjoying forever. Immutability ap- 
pears to be the rule in the history of God's universe ; 
mutability the exception — the winter period of the 
history. This incidental period, however, is soon to 
terminate. When the mighty angel, dispatched by 
the Almighty God, shall stand, one foot on sea and 
one on land, and swear by Him that liveth forever 
that time shall be no more, then to those who are 
purified and sanctified by the power of Divine truth 
the moral winter and darkness shall pass away, to be 
succeeded by the summer and sunshine of the glad 
eternity. But when that day is to dawn the angels in 
heaven do not know. Perhaps the mutable period 
has already passed its meridian. Perhaps the coldest 
winter season, and the darkest midnight scene, date 
more than eighteen centuries back. When the Lord 
of Glory was condemned to suffer the ignominious 
and painful death of the cross, it was the darkest, 
blackest, guiltiest hour. When the sun drew a dark 
veil over his broad and brilliant disc, the powers of 



64 North Carolina Sermons. 

heaven were shaken, earth's fair arcana convulsed, and 
hell's profoundest centre quaked, it was the influence 
and power of God's immutable, eternal truth, revolv- 
ing the sin-cursed world through the weary, wintry 
cycle, and rolling it back into the perpetual summer 
and perennial sunshine of its Creator's blessing and 
glory. " Being born again, not of corruptible seed, 
but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liv- 
eth and abideth forever." It is the power of Divine 
Truth which breaks down the putrid walls of our na- 
tive depravity, rolls back nature's rapid tide, and 
raises us up into the pure sunshine of God's reconciled 
favor, the heavenly joys of His children, and the holy 
foretaste of beatific bliss. While this seed remains in 
us we cannot sin, because we are born of God. " But 
whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of 
God perfected ; hereby know we that we are in him." 

Moral purity — which results from obedience to the 
truth, through the teaching and guidance of the 
Spirit — not only fills the heart with Divine love and 
floods it with Divine light, but expresses itself in lov- 
ing one another with pure hearts fervently. 

And all who are born of this incorruptible seed, and 
are purified by obedience to God's enduring truth, are 
reflectors of the Light of the world, which is to shine 
away the darkness of the night of sin, and bring in 
the effulgent glory of the eternal day. 

" The old commandment is the word which ye have 
heard from the beginning. Again, a new command- 
ment I write unto you, which thing is true in him 
and in you : because the darkness is past, and the true 
light now shineth." 

Every truly converted soul which seeks perfect 
purity according to the true criterion, God's Word, is 
a living bud, presaging the approach of summer, and 
the promise of luscious fruit, which is to be trans- 
planted to a fairer clime to bloom and bear ambrosial 



By Faith — By Sight. 65 

fruitage in immortal sunshine. May we realize the 
regenerating and sanctifying power of the Word of 
God, which by the Gospel is preached unto us ; and 
finally, make the immortal realm our adopted home, 
and know by sweet experience the truth of the Sa- 
viour's declaration : " Whosoever liveth and believeth 
in me shall never die." 



WALKING BY FAITH ON EARTH, BY SIGHT 

IN HEAVEN. 

BY Rev. J. M. Atkinson, 1). D., 
Pastor of Second Presbyterian Church, Raleigh. 



For we walk by faith, not by sight. — 2 COR. V : 7. 

The word faith is reckoned a peculiarly Theologi- 
cal or religious term ; and yet the principle of faith 
performs as large a part in common life as in the 
Word of God. All ihe affairs of life demand it. and 
would come to an end without it. The husbandman 
conducts all his operations in the faith that the laws 
of nature are trustworthy; that the old promise touch- 
ing seed time and harvest and cold and heat and sum- 
mer and winter and day and night may be relied on. 
This is what makes lying looked at, not in its moral 
and religious, but in its social and economical aspects 
merely, so mischievous. It is a universally disturbing 
element. It is a principle divisive of all agents ; fatal 
to all compacts; destructive of all interests. So that 
in the lower sphere of daily business, we walk by 
faith. But there is no book in which the principle of 
faith is so prominent as the Bible; no system of relig- 
ion in which it is so prominent as the Christian. When 



66 North Carolina Sermons. 

God is dealing with men, and men are dealing with 
God, there must be faith in God. On the part of men 
eminently, in the high sphere of religion ; in the vital 
matters of the invisible world. Faith in God is the 
initial and essential principle of the Christian life. 

The general scope of this chapter is to console be- 
lievers under the sore pressure of earthly ills by the 
glad prospect of a blessed immortality. The text is 
thrown in as a mere parenthesis, and yet it contains a 
truth of vital moment and daily use. The "doctrine 
■to be illustrated is that the objects of the life to come are 
now matters of faith ; hereafter, they will he objects of vis- 
ion. 

1st. When we compare our present experience with 
the revelations of God, we cannot but be struck with 
the obvious fact, that in many respects, the present 
life stands in marked contrast with the life to come; 
with which, notwithstanding, it is bound together as 
one clear, continuous whole ; neither complete in it- 
self and each pre-supposing the other. Without the 
world to come, the present life is an insoluble mys- 
tery ; and the peculiar joys and splendors of the fu- 
ture life all proceed upon the familiar facts of our ex- 
perience on earth : our fall, our redemption, and our 
salvation by faith in Christ. The whole experience of 
the human race on earth is connected with the future 
glory of the church triumphant. The future life is 
the experience of the same individual at a more ad- 
vanced stage of his spiritual progress ; and yet in 
much, perhaps in most, it stands in striking contrast 
with all that has gone before; with all that he has 
known before. The wonderful objects, with which the 
soul will then be immediately conversant, are objects 
of which the senses can give us no intelligence, and 
of which it could have no knowledge whatever but 
for the premonitions given in the Scriptures, and the 
only instrument by which these objects in themselves, 



By Faith— By Sight. 67 

so spiritual and sublime; to sense, so shadowy and 
remote, can be apprehended, is faith. For we walk 
by faith, not by sight; and all that we, or any, can 
now know of the future world, is by faith in the su- 
pernatural revelations of God. Faith is to the soul 
what the telescope is to the eye. It brings distant 
worlds near, and makes them the objects of a vision 
of its own ; a supernatural vision. The objects of a 
supernatural revelation can be rightly apprehended 
only by a supernatural vision, even when themselves 
the objects of sense; tor through faith we understand 
that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so 
that things which are seen were not made of things 
which do appear.* How would these few words, — a 
single stroke of the sword of the Spirit, — put to flight 
the armies of the aliens, — cut through the gossamer 
theories of modern infidel men of science! But the 
natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of 
God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can 
he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.")" 
2. Here we are going on step by step in partial, or 
total, darkness, perplexed by the hard problems of life 
and thought. The only light by which we can find 
our way, with any safety, with any confidence, through 
all these dark and devious paths, is the light of truth, 
in the hand of faith. But the best light we have, the 
light by which we order our stepson in the earth is dis- 
coloured and dim, compared with the cloudless and 
boundless effulgence of heaven. " For now we see 
through a glass darkly, but then face to face. Now 
we know in part, but then shall we know even as also 
we are known." Then shall the objects of faith be ob- 
jects of sight. No longer indistinct and shadowy, 
but present and palpable realities, they shall be known 
in their true nature : be visible in their proper beauty 

*Heb. 11 : 3. 11 Cor. 2 : 14. 



68 North Carolina Sermons. 

and glory. Now we believe, but we do not now see the 
objects of faith. Bat, in proportion to the simplicity 
and strength of our faith, are the truth and vividness 
of our apprehensions. After all, however, those ap- 
prehensions must be not only far from adequate, 
but far from accurate, on account of the imper- 
fection of the instrument itself; still more on account 
of our imperfect mastery of it. Faith is indeed the 
substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things 
not seen ;* but not the very things themselves. There is, 
therefore, nothing like illusion in true faith, but there 
is imperfection. 

4. Faith casts a light, a very precious and cheering 
light, on the present scene of things. Confused, chaotic 
dark, as it must seem to sense, as it must appear to 
men who confine their view to time, faith assures us 
that amid all the jarring discords of this lower world, 
and over all its wild and warring elements the Lord 
God Omnipotent reigneth ; that it is still under the 
hand and eye of a righteous and Almighty Ruler, the 
Everlasting God. the Maker of all things, and there- 
fore the Master, the Ruler and the Judge of all. 

" As some tall cliff that lifts its awful forni, 
Swells from the vale a,nd midway leaves the storm, 
Though round its head the rolling clouds are spread, 
Eternal sunshine settles on its head." 

Of whatever in particular we may be in ignorance 
or doubt, this much we know, "enough for man to 
know," that God reigns; that He doeth according to 
His will in the army of heaven and among the in- 
habitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand, 
or say unto Him what doest thou? Whatever unex- 
pected and appalling changes may take place on the 
earth, we have the certain assurance that there is One 
on high who- sees and orders and bounds them all. 

*Heb. 11: 1. 



By Faith—By Sight. 69 

This is the one underlying fact which supports the soul 
under all its burdens and conflicts, and enables it to 
accept, if it cannot solve, all the mysteries of nature 
and Providence. To our purblind reason and narrow 
view, things may go amiss, or seem awry. Bat that 
which may "grate harsh thunder" in our ears may 
discourse sweet music in the ear of God ; and that 
which to our blear eyes may appear deformity, to His 
clear vision may be perfect beauty. Faith tells us that 
whatever else may be in shadow all is shaped accord- 
ing to His invisible but gracious ends. And so the 
poet of human nature and human life saw, when he 
said with deep unconscious piety, perhaps, 

" There's a Divinity that shapes our ends, 
Rough-hew them how we will." 

Translated in the dialect of heaven it means it is 
not in man that walketh to direct his steps. The 
steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and His 
counsel siffcll stand. Though clouds and darkness be 
round about Him, righteousness and judgment are the 
habitation of His throne. All tilings shall work to- 
gether for good to them that love God, to them that 
are the called according to His purpose. 

II. Faith contemplates all that God has revealed, 
embracing the whole existerice of man in time and 
eternity. It is, therefore, its high function to choose 
and to do what is right, whatever earthly evil it may 
involve; whatever earthly loss it may entail. We are 
simply walking by faith, when we act on the assump- 
tion that " honesty is the best policy " with a view 
not merely to earthly ends, but chiefly to heavenly, 
and that under the gxverment of God to do right will 
turn out for the best for us and for all men, in the 
long run, whatever the earthly harm and loss. This 
infallible conviction is the inspiration of all noble 
sentiment; of all noble spirits ; of all noble deeds. 



70 North Carolina Sermons. 

Hence, of all men true christians are the most 
disinterested, the most heroic, the most loving. 
Hence, the dauntless courage of the confessors of 
despised and down-trodden truths, of the righteous 
cause triumphed over, and trampled under foot for 
the time. This it is, which inspired " the noble army 
of martyrs " to lay down their lives rather than aban- 
don or betray the cause of truth and of God ; and so 
made whole races and eras better, nobler, wiser, hap- 
pier. Other men have labored, and we have entered 
into their labors. Ours is the rich inheritance of -all 
that the good and the wise of our own and of other 
times have achieved and accumulated in the name of 
the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God. 

2. The men who have little or no faith in the per- 
fections and Providence of God will naturally account 
Success the crown of wisdom and the test of right. 
Accordingly, they reckon a man a fool or a weakling 
who does not succeed, success being referred to some 
worldly standard, and consisting in some worldly 
good. But our Blessed Saviour's teaching, projected 
on the scale of Eternity, is just the reverse. He says, 
" Woe unto you when sll men shall speak well of you ;" 
" woe unto you that laugh now, for ye shall weep and 
lament!" In the race for the things which the men 
of this world sigh for and strive after, the man who 
walks by faith is weighted. He carries the weight of 
an honest conscience and a feeling heart. 

3. The deeper the darkness of earth and of life, the 
sweeter and brighter the light of faith, by which we 
guide our steps toward heaven. When the wine of 
life is gone, and nothing left us but the bitter dregs — 
when our shining youth is past, and manly prime — 
when old age is creeping on with stealthy steps — 
when we can see nothing before us in this world but 
decline and decrepitude, a failure of all the bodily 
senses, and all the vital forces, until at last, worn < ut 



By Faith — By Sight. 71 

and wearied out, nothing is left us but to drop into the 
yawning grave. Then when there is nothing in reason, 
nothing in nature, to sustain or to cheer us, faith 
points to another and a nobler life, when death itself 
shall die, when the darkness of this life shall be ex- 
changed for the flashing splendors of the City of God, 
where they have no need of the sun or the moon to 
give them light, because the Lamb is the light thereof; 
where the hunger of the heart shall be satisfied with 
the Living Bread ; the Bread that came down from 
heaven ; the true Bread, of which the sacramental 
bread is nothing more than the type and the pledge; 
where full provision shall be made for the satisfaction 
of all the susceptibilities and faculties of our immor- 
tal nature. 

III. The blessed period is fast approaching to all 
who are in Christ Jesus, when the objects of faith now 
so feebly discerned, so imperfectly enjoyed, shall be 
objects of vision, as truly present to the soul as are now 
the objects of sense. Then we shall be present with the 
Lord, and He shall be present with us, after a more 
excellent and intimate manner than we can now un- 
derstand or imagine. What immense delight ! What 
an exceeding and eternal weight of glory ! What 
abundant and joyful fruition of things believed ! What 
an ample vindication of the aspersed wisdom of the 
just! What a glorious justification of faith, in re- 
gard to all who have been justified by faith! What 
an overpayment of delight for all earthly losses for 
conscience sake and for Christ's sake! 

2. No mortal eye can now range over the boundless, 
beautiful territories of the invisible world. "Sweet 
fields arrayed in living green and rivers of delight." 

None of us can now, with our bodily eyes, behold 
the laud that is very far off, and see the King in His 
beauty. We are now sojourning for a season, in a 
strange country. But we shall soon pass on to the 



72 North Carolina Sermons. 

everlasting habitations of the just made perfect, and 
to the Beatific Vision of the King of Glory. There 
shall we behold all the beloved and the blest who have 
gone before us, beside whose dying beds we wept and 
prayed, and whose precious dust we confided to the 
faithful keeping of our Heavenly Father. Those over 
whom the insatiate grave seemed to have gained a 
cruel triumph shall reappear in immortal vigor, with 
palms of victory in their hands; with pagans of praise 
upon their tongues; and with crowns of honor upon 
their raclient brows. Then shall our possessions be 
not like those we rejoice in now, fragmentary and fu- 
gitive, but complete and abiding; not more precious 
than permanent ; not more noble than secure. Then 
there shall be no painful perplexities about what we 
should do; no painful uncertainties about what we 
should believe. But we shall walk at large, in the 
noon-tide blaze of absolute assurance and unclouded 
truth. 

3. tjfhen shall we behold without a veil the awful 
and majestic and blessed realities of the Eternal 
World. We shall confront without confusion or fear 
the now invisible arcana of the Holy of Holies. Then the 
shadows will all have fled away, and "one unclouded 
blaze of living light" be poured fourth profuse over 
the "many mansions" of our Father's House. Then 
shall we not mereiy behold but enjoy the plenitude of 
Heaven, the full manifestation of the Father's love 
forever ! He loves us now. But now we cannot al- 
ways discern, and now we can never appreciate His 
love. Beloved even now are we, the sons of God, and 
it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know 
that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for 
we shall see Him as He is. The sweet sense of the 
Father's favor was withdrawn from the Son Himself 
upon the cross, and He exclaimed in accents of agony, 
the saddest ever heard on this earth : " My God, my 



Knowledge of Christ. 73 

God, why hast Thou forsaken me ?" But Christ was as 
dear to the Father then as when His sacred Person 
" bright effluence of bright essence increate," was 
transfigured with the intolerable splendors of the Eter- 
nal Godhead, and the Voice from Heaven saluted Him 
as the Beloved Son ! And on the very day when His 
body hung upon the cross of Calvary, His soul was in 
Paradise. So the believer now in the deepest spiritual 
dejection and darkness, is not less dear to His Divine 
Redeemer than he shall be when all earthly sorrows 
passed away ; he shall bask forever in the bright beams 
of heavenly joy. Weeping may endure for a night, 
but joy cometh in the morning. For we walk by 
faith, not by sight. 



THE EXCELLENCE OF THE KNOWLEDGE 
OF CHRIST. 

By Rev. L. L. Nash, 
Of the North Carolina Conference. 



Tea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the ex- 
cellency of the knowledge of Chi-ist Jesus my Lord. — Phil- 
ippians in : 8. 

The religion of Paul was not a mere theory. His 
conversion is one of the most remarkable facts re- 
corded in the history of the Christian church. When 
we consider the man, the circumstances of his conver- 
sion, the impression made on his mind and heart by 
the vision he saw on his way to Damascus, and its in- 
fluence on his subsequent life, we have an incarnation 
of evidence to the truth and saving power of Christi- 
anity, the most convincing that could possibly be 
given. " In this light he ever viewed the subject him- 



74 North Carolina Sermons. 

self; the manner of his conversion he ever appealed 
to as the most proper apology for his conduct; and on 
several most important occasions he not only refers to 
it, but enters into a detail of its circumstances, that 
his hearers might see that the excellency of the power 
was of God, and not of man.'' 

He possessed a highly cultivated mind, and was 
doubtless master of all the modes of investigating the 
most abstruse subjects of thought, and he possessed 
the keenest logical powers ; but his knowledge of 
Christ Jesus was a fact of consciousness, and this con- 
scious knowledge of Christ was his ulta matum. The 
longing of his great soul for immortality prepared 
him to enjoy to the fullest extent the knowledge re- 
ceived through Christ alone. To the mind of Paul 
there was nothing comparable to this knowledge. Its 
revelations were full of assurance that when the 
earthly house of his tabernacle should be dissolved he 
would have a building of God, an house not made 
with hands, eternal in the heavens. 

This assurance of eternal life is the crowning glory 
of Christianity. It lifts it at once above the philoso- 
phy and hopes of men. " Life and immortality is 
brought to light [alone] in the gospel." 

The scientist may dig down into the earth and 
count its stratas and form his cosmogony, or pluck 
the lightning wreath from the thunder bolt; but 
when he stands by the bier of death, and the ques- 
tion comes bursting from the breaking heart of be- 
reaved humanity, i( If a man die will he live again ?" 
proud science is dumb. This, question can only be 
answered at the empty tomb of Joseph of Aremathea, 
the receptacle of the dead body of Christ. It is here 
alone of all the sons of earth that has passed through 
the portals of death, can it.be said : " He is not here, 
but is risen." But what kind of a knowledge of Christ 
is it that settles this great question ? 



Knowledge of Christ. 75 

There are three senses in which we may know 
Christ. We may have a theoretical knowledge of 
him — a historical knowledge of him — and we may 
have an experimental knowledge of Christ. Let us 
consider hriefly what may belong to each of these 
branches of knowledge. 

I. What is a theoretical knowledge of Christ f 

1. A theory of Christianity is a mere speculation ; 
a doctrine which terminates in contemplation, without 
a view to practice. When our knowledge of Christ 
only exist in theory, it will prove as unprofitable to 
us as it will be visionary in itself. 

A theory of Christianity is not to be despised in it- 
self; it is only when jt stops there, and never culmi- 
nates in anything more than a theory, that we are to 
avoid it. We may class as a theoretical knowledge of 
Christ all bare assent of the mind to formulated 
creeds, which we profess to believe, as the product of 
a train of reasoning, in which the doctrine of atone- 
ment is set forth, and shown to be reasonable; or any 
system of christian ethics which we seek to establish 
by reason, and which never becomes a rule of life to 
us. 

2. There- is great danger that our religion become 
a mere theory. To teach the theory of Christianity is 
a much easier task than to practice its precepts. We 
may be well acquainted with the evidences of Chris- 
tianity and know nothing about christian experience. 
Hence, many religious theorists have ignored those ex- 
periences that should belong to a true theory of chris- 
tianit}'. 

To this class those persons belonged of whom St. 
Paul, in his epistle to Timothy, spoke as " having a 
form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; 
from such turn away." Of this class sang the poet of 
Methodism : 



76 North Carolina Sermons. 



" The men who slight thy faithful word, 

In their own lies confide, 
These are the temple of the Lord, 

And heathen all beside ! 
The temple of the Lord are these, 

The only Church and true, 
Who live in pomp and wealth and ease, 

And Jesus never knew! 
0, wouldst thou, Lord, reveal their sins, 

And turn their joy to grief; 
The world, the Christian world, Convince, 

Of damning unbelief! 
The formalists confound, convert. 

And to thy people join; 
And break, and fill the broken heart, 

With confidence divine!" 

No one knew better than Charles Wesley did the 
evil effect of being content with a theory of religion. 
We have an insight into his own experience in these 
lines : 

" Long have I seemed to serve thee, Lord, 

With unavailing pain: 
Tasted and prayed, and read thy word, 

And heard it preached in vain. 
Oft did I with the assembly join, 

And near thy altar drew; 
A form of godliness was mine, 

The power I never knew." 

Many at the present day can talk learnedly of Christ 
and Christianity ; and doubtless fancy there is noth- 
ing more excellent than a theoretical knowledge of 
Christ, who would be prepared to sing, 

" But I of means have made my boast, 
Of means an idol made; 
The Spirit in the letter lost, 
The substance in the shade ;" 

if they could only be made to believe that there is a 
knowledge of Christ, that effects and changes the 
heart; and plants in the soul a hope full of immor- 
tality. If all who profess to believe in Christ, and 



Knowledge of Christ. 77 

who have a theoretical knowledge of Him, would 
know Him as Paul knew Him, we would have noth- 
ing to fear from infidelity. But while we are chris- 
tians in theory, and sinners in practice, we need not 
wonder that infidels scoff at religion, and make light 
of our professions. 

3. " Christ," the anointed " Jesus," the Saviour, " My 
Lord," the Divine, Eternal Son of God ! How full of 
meaning are these expressions of Paul ! Heathenism 
had vague ideas of incarnate Gods. The want of hu- 
manity, like itself in other things, becomes the mother 
of invention in matters pertaining to religion. Theo- 
ries having for their object a divine Saviour are not 
peculiar to Christianity. Christ is not simply a cos 
mopolite in person, but the idea of a divine Saviour 
is universal. Hence we find the idea in the Brahmin- 
ical system of theology. In the celebrated drama of 
Sakoontala, translated by Professor Williams, of Ox- 
ford, England, we find the following passage : 

"That immortal pair * * * 
Whom Vishnu greater than the self existent. 
Chose for his parents, when to save mankind, 
He took upon himself the shape of mortals." 

The poet Southey refers to the same fact in the fol- 
lowing lines : 

' : When tyrants in their might, 
Usurped dominion o'er the earth, 
Then Vishnu took a human birth, 
Deliverer of the sons of men." 

The Christ idea exists in theory, where Christianity 
is unknown. The idea must have originated some 
way by revelation. Some tradition pointing to the 
great event, must have borne the thought down 
through the ages ; and the groping sons of earth per- 
petuated the idea by many incarnations of deities, and 
many theories of the "Anointed." But how far short 
5 



78 North Carolina Sermons. 

do all these theories fall of the Knowing Christ in a 
Pauline sense! 

All these heathen, as well as Christian theories, sim- 
ply confirm the truth that Christ is " the desire of all 
nations." 

A theory must be true or false; but there must be a 
real object, the attainment of which is desirable, or 
there can be no real, earnest thought, culminating in 
a theory. There is fact behind all fiction. Truth 
may be so perverted that its good influence will be 
destroyed ; but underneath all the rubbish of human 
invention it lies like a jewel in a mine. 

Like the idea of God, resulting from the demand in 
the human mind for a cause for every effect, there may 
exist in vague outlines the idea of an incarnate deity. 
It avails nothing to say we could not conceive of Christ 
without some sort of revelation. The same thing is 
true of God, the great first cause. Tell a man there is 
a God, and he sees the necessity of His existence. But 
if he had no revelation at all on the subject, lie would 
never think of seeing Him behind nature. There is 
unquestionably a revelation behind all our theories of 
God, and of Christ. But a bare fact may become the 
basis of a false system. Many things may be added to 
one, and this is the way we form theories. The simple 
fact that Christ died for sinners underlies all our theo- 
ries of Christianity. 

II. We will proceed to notice what is implied in a his- 
torical knowledge of Christ. 

1. To us Christ to us is more than a theory. He is 
a fact of history. We who have the Bible in our hands 
may know Him, as we know Napoleon, Washington, 
or any other person, whose deeds have become so well 
known to us that their names are household words. 

The Sunday School scholar is familiar with the 
Christ of history. In youth imagination is active; 
and in its flights the young mind pictures the form, 



Knowledge of Christ. 79 

contemplates the features, and looks into the eyes of 
the Son of God, as He tabernacled with men ; and be- 
fore the doubts of skepticism cast their dark clouds 
over the minds, the child doubts not the wonderful 
story of the Evangelist. 

In after life, when the storm -tossed spirit of the 
man of thought, is burdened with care, and perplexed 
with doubt, reaches forth the tendrils of being and 
earnestly asks, "is there one who can and will give 
immortal life?" And the history of Christ is placed 
in his hands, with all the evidence of genuineness and 
authenticity, external and internal, the intellect re- 
ceives Christ as a fact of history. This is unques- 
tionably the most excellent fact of history. To know 
even Historically that " He who even in the beginning 
was with God," and who "was God," "was made 
flesh " — to know that other human eyes beheld Him, 
and human hands handled His body ; and that body 
was made, and accepted, as an offering for sin, and 
when He died an atonement was made for human 
guilt, is a fact so far above every other fact, that it is 
sufficient of itself to make any thoughtful man ex- 
claim, " Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss 
for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, 
my Lord." 

2. But all this may be known about Christ, and 
yet we may not know Him. There is a differ- 
ence in knowing a person, and knowing about him. 
When our knowledge is simply historical, it falls far 
short of what is implied in knowing Christ in the 
sense spoken of in the text. 

III. Let us inquire: What is implied in knowing 
Christ in experience f 

1. Methinks if Paul were present, and the question 
should be put to him : ' What do you mean, Paul, by 
knowing Christ?' his eye would kindle with the fire 
that blazed there, when the scales fell off* in the house 



80 North Carolina Sermons. 

of Judas, on the street called Straight in the City of 
Damascus; and he would answer: 'The Son of God, 
who loved me, and gave himself for me, manifests 
himself to my consciousness in his saving power. I 
was once sold under sin. For that which I did I al- 
lowed not; for what I would I did not: but what I 
hated that did I. I found a law, that, when I would 
do good, evil was present with me. In that condition I 
cried out, ' 0, wretched man that I am! Who shall 
deliver me from the body of this death?' and Christ 
Jesus, my Lord, broke off the fetters that bound my 
soul, and ever since I have been able to walk in his 
commandments and ordinances blameless. By the 
grace of God I am what I am. By the witness of the 
Spirit of God, bearing witness with my spirit, I know 
that when this earthly house of my tabernacle shall 
be dissolved, I have a building of God, a house not 
made with hands, eternal in the heavens; and 
al! this I received through knowing Christ Jesus, 
my Lord.' 

2. But is this knowledge of Christ the common in- 
heritance of the human race? May I know Christ in 
such a sense as to be freed from the power of sin, and 
be conscious of his indwelling presence? We thank 
God that we are not left to conjecture on so important 
a matter. "If any man shall do his will he shall 
know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether 
I speak of myself," is the declaration of the Saviour. 
It is our privilege to know that, " the Son of God loved 
me, and gave himself for .me." 

No man ever made an honest effort to do the will of 
God, that did not learn his inability to perform that 
task without the aid that comes through faith in 
Christ. This is the test rule of Christianity, and no 
man has given Christianity a fair trial, who has not 
honestly endeavored to do the will of God, that he 
might know Christ and His doctrine. Here we throw 



Knowledge op Christ. 81 

down the gauntlet to infidelity. If any man can 
show one who did the will of God, and did not know 
Christ, then we must give up the point, that all may 
become possessed of this excellent knowledge. All 
that Christianity demands is a fair trial. Certainly its 
claims are high enough to demand of us a fair and 
impartial trial. "If it is true," in the language of a 
distinguished infidel, "it is tremendously true." If 
we may be possessed of this knowledge, we certainly 
owe it to ourselves to do all in our power to obtain it. 

3. Apart from the declarations of Scripture, and the 
test rule of the Gospel, there is a cloud of witnesses to 
the fact, that we may know Christ, "and the power of 
his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, 
being made conformable to his death." 

We have stood by the dying Christian, when the 
life-boat was foundering, and there could be no possi- 
ble reason for deception ; and while the chilling waves 
of death were dashing to wreck every earthly hope, 
and at that awful hour, when the spirit must change 
worlds, we have heard the shout of victory, and the 
declaration, " for I knoiv whom I have believed, and am 
persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have 
committed unto him against that day." 

Yes, my brethren, we may know Christ; know him 
as a personal Saviour, actually saving us. Suffer me 
to ask you a question : Do you know Him, as a per- 
sonal Saviour? If you do not seek that knowledge at 
once. For you may be well assured that, 

" Joy is a fruit that will not grow. 
In nature's barren soil : 
All we can boast, till Christ we know, 
Is vanity and toil. 

But where the Lord has planted grace, 

And made his glories known, 
There fruits of heavenly joy and peace 

Are found — and there alone. 



82 North Carolina Sermons. 

A bleeding Saviour seen by faith, 
A sense of pard'ning love, 
A hope that triumphs over death, 
Give joys like those above. 

To take a glimpse within the veil, 

To know that God is mine, 
Are springs of joy that never fail, 

Unspeakable, Divine ! 

These are the joys which satisfy 

And sanctify the mind ; 
Which make the spirit mount on high, 

And leave the world behind." 

If your knowledge of Christ is nothing more than 
a theory, or a fact of history, you are a stranger to that 
kingdom, the essential nature of which is "righteous- 
ness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost" 

To know Christ, you must in a sense, be crucified 
with him. The tendrils of your affections must be 
broken off from earthly things, and entwined around 
things above. 

There is something unspeakable and full of glory en- 
joyed by the soul that realizes salvation through Christ 
Jesus our Lord. 

It is more than a theory ; it is more than a fact of 
history; it is God with us, and God in us, the hope 
of glory. 

Suffer a word of exhortation. Turn not away from 
this subject until you have made up your mind to 
know Christ as your own, personal Saviour. I have 
seen many who lived in the Church for a long while 
without a saving knowledge of Christ. They pro- 
fessed to know him, but were sadly conscious that they 
were in bondage to sin. They knew they ought to 
seek Him, but put it off from time to time. My friend, 
let nothing keep you from the "excellency of the 
knowledge of Christ Jesus." Church membership 
cannot save you ; theories of religion cannot save you ; 
a historical knowledge of Christ cannot save you. You 



To Whom Shall we Go? 83 

must know Christ in the fulfillment of His great mis- 
sion. " And thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he 
shall save his people from their sins," was the revela- 
tion to Joseph upon his advent into the world ; and he 
is on!}' known by this name, Jesus — Saviour; and he 
can only be known by those who are saved from their 
sins by this name. Can you lay your hand upon your 
heart and say : ' Jesus, I know Thee ; Thou hast saved 
me.' If not, count all tilings but loss for the excel- 
lency of this knowledge. 

"0 the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and 
knowledge of God ! how unsearchable are his judg- 
ments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath 
known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his 
counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it 
shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, 
and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom 
be glory forever. Amen." 



TO WHOM SHALL WE GO? 

By Rev. E. A. Yates, D. D., 

Of the North Carolina Conference. 



Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away ? 
Then Simon Peter answered, Lord unto whom shall we go ? 
thou hast the words of eternal life! — John vi: 67, 68. 

The occasion which drew from Simon Peter the 
declaration of the text was the delivery of a sermon 
by Christ upon the nature of spiritual religion. The 
Saviour dealt as little as possible in metaphysics; but 
it was necessary sometimes in stating the higher prin- 
ciples of the scheme of redemption to present truths 
which belong to that region of thought. Like all 



84 North Carolina Sermons. 

very great teachers, however, lie had the faculty for 
making even metaphysics plain to the understanding 
of his hearers. He did this by the use of bold and 
very striking metaphors. On the occasion referred to 
above, his announcements were startling to the half- 
hearted and fearful : carrying along with them as 
they did a declaration of war against all mere exter- 
nal professions in religion and sell-indulgence of the 
world. "I am that bread," he said, "which came 
down from heaven, of which if a man eat he shall 
never hunger." " Whoso eateth my flesh and drink- 
eth my blood hath everlasting life ; and I will raise 
him up at the last day." " Verily, verily, I say unto 
3'ou, ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but 
because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled." 
" He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth 
in me and 1 in /mn." This whole line of remark sim- 
ply asserted, first, the indwelling nature of spiritual 
religion, and second, that spiritual life was produced 
through, and grounded in, the sacrifice of Christ. 

There were many following Jesus who had no 
heart for such doctrines. Cariosity, popularity of 
movement, together with personal advantage, made up 
the causes which attracted the multitude And it was 
only to have been expected that when the winnowing 
fan should be set in motion, the chaff should be blown 
away. So it was. " Many went back and followed 
him no more." The spiritual truths which Jesus an- 
nounced were the only cohesive forces which could 
bind his followers to him in an enduring foundation 
for his Spiritual Zion ; and any orbital movements in 
the system that did not acknowledge this as the only 
attractive force, must necessarily, soon or later, find the 
tengent where they fly off to their own ruin ! Being 
notified then that the system had its work to be per- 
formed as well as its pleasures to be enjoyed — that it 
would sometimes require hunger and suffering as well 



To Whom Shall we Go? 85 

as furnish its loaves and fishes — the zeal of " many " 
found its high water mark and ebbed away. It was 
a sad thing thus to see men sinning against their own 
soul in the very face of the light which the works of 
Christ gave them. The Saviour doubtless followed 
them with his loving eye as they went away from him. 
He saw their future burdens and sorrows, borne with- 
out his gracious help : the clouds of woe thickening 
over the path which they had chosen, and descending 
at last as a dark night of despair upon the end of the 
way, and turning sorrowfully to the twelve, he en- 
quired, "Will ye also go away ?" "Then Simon Pe- 
ter answered, Lord unto whom shall we go ? thou hast 
the words of eternal life." 

Our first proposition is, that the truth of Peter's 
statement that Christ is the life-giver finds its support in 
true science, in sound philosophy, and in holy scrip- 
ture. The sweep of the truth, when we thoroughly 
investigate it, is simply amazing. " In him was life." 
And this life was first, real and always; so that all sub- 
sequent life must root itself in him who was life. 
Science traces it to God, but philosophy and scripture 
to Christ. The great majority of the best scientists 
the world has ever produced acknowledge with grati- 
tude the result to which they are forced, that in the 
beginning God created the heavens and the earth and 
everything that lives; and they take pleasure in giv- 
ing him the glory for the beauty of the plan, the gran- 
deur of the execution, and the utility and goodness of 
the design. But a sound philosophy brings the 
scheme within the sphere of human perception. All 
abstract ideas and mental conceptions can deliver 
themselves in form, expression and being, only in one 
or all of three ways, viz : first, by active sign, requiring 
something to act through ; secondly, by written alpha- 
betic characters ; and thirdly, by articulate sounds or 
words. Stephenson's idea of a steam-engine and cars 



86 North Carolina Sermons. 

could never have taken form and being without eyes, 
bands and material things. The wonderful creations 
of Milton could never have had being in Paradise Lost 
without leaping into life from the point of a pen ; and 
the Spirit's sermon on the Mount would have left the 
world in religious darkness unto this day if it had not 
been flung as heaven's benediction upon the world 
from the tongue of Jesus. And these ways often verge 
to each other and unify themselves; becoming the 
medium by which mere idea and purpose take on the 
form of fact and being. So God must act, write, or 
speak, if He would have a world to be and know. 
Christ is the medium of creation, and the mediator of a 
covenant. In creation, redemption and salvation, He 
is the pen of Deity, the God who acts. The second 
person in the trinity is its voice, its word, the divine 
logos. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word 
was with God, and the Word was God." Christ, then, 
is God's word, voice, power, force, from which all life 
and being proceeds. And this philosophy leads at 
once to the scripture statement: "In him was life. 
All things were made by him ; and without him was 
not anything made that was made." Since everything 
that lives, then, necessarily roots itself in Christ, one 
other question suggests itself at this point: What was 
the great, all-absorbing, mission of Christ into the 
world ? The answer is plain : For this purpose he 
was manifested "to destroy the works of the devil, 
and give eternal life to all who believe." So, then, we 
have this conclusion, that what we call the plan of 
salvation unifies both creation and grace ; and what- 
ever has being lives because of Christ, and Christ be- 
cause of human redemption ! 

This leads us to notice that the Apostle in the text 
rises to the perception and grasp of this higher truth. 
" Thou has the words of eternal life." If he is the 
life of all, if " in him is life, and the life is the light 



To Whom Shall we Go? 87 

of men," and if he is " manifested to destroy the 
works of the devil," then eternal life is the object of 
the whole plan and process. The first is only the 
scaffolding by which the greater truth is built. 

Now, eternal death is the opposite of eternal life, 
and sin is the cause of all death, both temporal and 
eternal. The cause or giver of eternal life must then 
have power over the cause of death, which is sin. 
Hence, " the son of man hath power on earth to for- 
give sin," to grant pardon, or life. But how can this 
be shown ? Only by miracles. The miracles of Christ 
therefore were not intended simply to do good. They 
only had that result because they were performed by 
one who w r as infinitely good. If they were wrought 
simpl} T to do good, as some may possibly suppose, then 
there was comparatively very little good done. Many 
sick-beds were never visited by Christ; and tens of 
thousands slept in the silent cities of the dead who 
never heard the voice of the Son of God, and were 
left to sleep on. Some of Christ's miracles seem to 
have been wrought simply to exhibit his divine power, 
but most of them were for the purpose of showing not 
only his divinity, but also of disclosing the object of 
the divine manifestations, namel} 7 , to pardon sin, de- 
stroy the works of the devil, and give eternal life to 
all who believe. 

Let us now examine a few of these miracles, taking 
first the raising of the widow's son. The logical con- 
ditions of argument are briefly these: Christ came 
into the world to give eternal life to all who should 
believe on him, that is, believe that he was the atone- 
ment for sin, and by virtue of his sacrifice, had power 
on earth to forgive sin upon condition of repentance 
and faith, and that this pardon carried along with it 
the indwelling grace and Spirit of God, thus consti- 
tuting here and hereafter eternal life. But this prin- 
ciple of sin, as well as its cure, eternal life, is invisi- 



88 North Carolina Sermons. 

ble, metaphysical, spiritual. How then can the power 
to destroy the one and give the other be demonstrated ? 
The answer to this is, Christ must show his power over 
the works of the devil, or the outward effects and results of 
sin. He must exhibit his power over the cause by dis- 
closing his power over the effects. Death is the effect 
of sin. If there had been no sin, there would be no 
death. And therefore the power that proposes to grap- 
ple in a life and death struggle with the great cause of 
death, must begin at the effects and work back to the 
cause. Accordingly, Jesus wrought miracles for this 
very purpose, to show his power over sin by raising 
the dead and healing the sick. 

We now approach the village of Nain. A funeral 
procession meets Jesus at the gate, the bier contains 
the dead body of a young man who had been the stay 
and support of his widowed mother. Jesus commands 
a halt, and the bier comes to rest before him. The 
wail of the mother but adds volumes to the mournful 
cry that goes up from the sad and sorrowful millions 
of a sin-cursed world. The presence of so large a con- 
course of people furnishes the Saviour with a fit oc- 
casion to teach the great truth, that he who can b} 7 a 
word raise to life a dead man, has power over sin 
which produced a dead man. And so, he commands life 
to come again into the body, and the young man 
springs again into the vigor of manhood, and is given 
back to his mother. 

But some skeptic may suggest that perhaps the 
young man was not really dead ; and that Jesus, by 
the exercise of great nerve power, only raised him 
from a swoon. So we pass on to the grave of Laza- 
rus. Here a multitude assembles with the two sisters 
and Jesus at the tomb. There, doubtless, stands the 
leering Jew, the incredulous Greek, the jesting Gen- 
tile and the scoffing sinner. The occasion is oppor- 
tune for Christ to display his power over sin by exer- 



To Whom Shall we Go? 89 

cising his power over its effects. He commands the 
stone to be rolled away from the mouth of the sepulchre ! 
But how about this case? Is he really dead? Just 
here a piece of testimony is thrust in, as it were, which 
upon any other hypothesis, is both gratuitous and in- 
explicable. It is necessary to the argument here that 
the fact of death be established. So one of the sisters 
exclaims, What ! roll away the stone? Why, "Lord, 
he has been dead four days/" and by this time decom- 
position has set in, and the body is offensive! Never 
mind, says Christ, " only believe ;" and then, with the 
finger of a God, he writes upon the tomb of Lazarus, 
" I am the resurrection and the life," and with a voice 
loud enough to be heard by all the company, he com- 
mands, "Lazarus, come forth," and he who had been 
dead four days, leaps back into life and radiant with 
health. 

But to make this point doubly sure, we take one 
more case: that of the man cured of the palsy. The 
disease which this poor man had was as much the re- 
sult of sin in the world as death ; for all sickness is 
but premonition of death. The investment of a word 
with power to raise to health a man sick of the palsy 
carries along with it the power to control that which 
produced the palsy, which is sin. While Jesus was 
preaching in a certain house, and a large company 
thronged even the doors and windows, the friends of 
the sick man carried him to the house-top, and, lifting 
the tiling, let him down just before Jesus. The sick 
man lies helpless before the Son of God, and was 
strong only in the faith which carried him in much 
suffering to the feet of the World's Redeemer. The 
first words uttered by Jesus were: " Son, thy sins be 
forgiven thee " This, to the ear. of the world, was 
strange and startling. Jesus purposely reversed his 
usual order. To snake the truth more impressive he- 
began at the cause of all disorder. It brought out the 



90 North Carolina Sermons. 

very point he desired. Many began to inquire, "Who 
is this that forgiveth sin ? Who can forgive sin but 
God ?" Very true. Who can ? That is just the 
point to be impressed upon the world; and the won- 
derful skill of Jesus in emphasizing the truth was 
admirable. He replies to their questions substanti- 
ally, " Why do ye thus reason among yourselves? 
For which is easier, to say thy sins be forgiven, or to 
say, arise, take up thy bed and walk?" Both require 
the same Divine power. I came into the world to par- 
don sin and give eternal life; and I have the power to 
pardon sin as easily as by a word to cure the palsy, 
which is the effect of sin. " But that ye may know that 
the son of man hath power on earth to forgive sin, I 
say to the sick of the palsy, " Arise, take up thy bed 
and go unto thy house," and immediately he arose and 
went to his home. 

These miracles then were intended to manifest the 
power of Jesus to bestow eternal life; and the ground 
of our hope comes down to us accredited by such dis- 
plays of the Saviour's power over sin as to leave no room 
for rational doubt to us who have fled for refuge to lay 
hold upon the hope set before us in the gospel. 

In the second place, to complete this line of thought 
•it is necessary for us to notice the reception of this eter- 
nal life into the soul. 

Life, in every form, is a subtle, intangible thing. It 
eludes alike the investigation of the scientist, the rules 
of the logician, and the analysis of the chemist. It 
may be lodged in a little seed, but how, where or xuhat, 
no one can tell. Under certain conditions it springs 
into beautiful being — into living fact. The process 
of preparation may be more or less gradual and slow ; 
but the point of time that separates the non-entity 
from the entity is an instant. So life comes; and its 
going is the same. The electric fluid strikes the giant 
oak, and it is dead in an instant. That which we see 



To Whom Shall we Go? 91 

afterward is shrivelled leaf and decaying limb, is only 
the process of decomposition. Life went out at the 
touch of the flash ! So with Lazarus. An instant be- 
fore he heard that voice that wakes the dead, he was 
as dead as if he had lain in the grave a thousand 
years. But when he heard the voice of the Life-giver, 
the sweep of which is from a flower to an angel, and 
from the gate of hell to gate of heaven, he leaped into 
life and flung defiance in the face of death ! So it is 
with eternal life, which God imparts through faith in 
His Son. The dying thief furnishes an illustrious ex- 
ample. In penitence and faith he uttered that prayer 
which never falls unheeded upon Mercy's ear: " Lord, 
remember me when thou cometh into thy kingdom." 
" This day," said Christ, "shalt thou be with me in 
paradise." And though he died upon the cross, he 
died at heaven's gate; for to be with Christ anywhere 
beyond death is to be in heaven. 

We come now to notice briefly the second propo- 
sition evolved from the text, viz : Christ having the 
ivords of eternal life, is the only one to whom the bur- 
dened soul can go for relief. Supernatural assistance 
has been sought by the human soul in all ages. The 
cry for divine help has broken from the burdened 
heart of humanity whenever history has registered the 
activities of the soul. The valleys have shouted to 
the mountains, and the mountains have echoed back 
the mournful cry, " Where shall the soul find rest?" 
We hear the Psalmist, in his longing after it, exclaim, 
"Oh, that I had wings like a dove: then would I fly 
away and be at rest." And Job, the heroic sufferer of 
the land of Uz, responds in the same sentiment, "Oh, that 
I knew where I might find him ! * * * * Fie would 
put strength within me; and so would I be delivered 
forever from my judge." The burdened soul will go 
somewhere for rest. Material things are solicited to 
give; and every resource is exhausted to find a mo- 



92 North Carolina Sermons. 

merits gratification. Every heart has its own mourn- 
ful story, and every tongue its tale of woe. Some ob- 
ject is ever evoked from the ideal or the real, and 
begged for one drop of water to cool the raging heat. 
Both ancient and modern heathen, in every system of 
religion, either simple or complex, unify the cry and 
give expression to the same universal want, " Where 
shall we go for peace? ' The " truth held in unright- 
eousness" in a gospel land but aggravates the disor- 
der; because, while conscience and reason both point 
to Jesus as the only source of relief, the sensual appe- 
tites point to material things and says, there be your 
god ! I pity the suffering sinner against light and 
goodness more than I do the sinner whose sufferings 
come mostly from sins of ignorance. " Woe unto thee 
Chorazin, and woe unto the Bethsaida ! for if the 
mighty works which were done in thee had been done 
in Tyre and Sidon they would have remained to this 
day." Oh, fatal delusion ! to die pf disease, when the 
great physician stands knocking at the door! 

The great fact can never be lost sight of, then, that 
this is a world of trouble because it is a world of siu. 
The tree still bears its poriion of fruit that belongs to 
a " knowledge of evil." The only question is, where 
can we go to find the proper antidote for the poison ? 

" This world can never give 
The bliss for which we sigh." 

And amongst other reasons which might be given 
for this is, that one which looms above all others, and 
which will dawn at no man's bidding : 

" 'Tis not all of life to live 
Nor all of death to die." 

Is there, then, no balm in Gilead ? Is there no 
physician there? Thank God, there is! The tree 
still bears its portion of fruit that belongs to a "knowl- 
edge of good." Christ has given it new life with his 



God's Love Manifested. 93 

blood ; and the invitation is, come and eat. " He that 
cometh unto me I will in nowise cast out." " Come 
unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I 
will give you rest." " Lord, unto whom shall we go ? 
thou hast the words of eternal life." 

" Burden'd with a world of grief, 

Burden'd with our sinful load, 
» Burden'd with this unbelief, 

Burden'd with the wrath of God ; 
Lo! we come to thee for ease, 

True and gracious as thou art; 
Now our groaning souls release, 
Write forgiveness on our heart. 1 ' 



GOD'S LOVE MANIFESTED EN THE RE 
DEMFTION. 

By Rev. A. W. Linebbrry, D. D., 
Of the Methodist Protestant Church. 



In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because 
that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we 
might live through Him. — 1 John iv: 9. 

Love, when applied to man, is said to be the strong- 
est passion of the soul, but when applied to God, 
means one of his leading attributes. And love is a 
theme than which there is not a more soul-cheering in 
the Bible, specially when its application, as in the 
text, has reference to man's redemption and salvation. 
True, Li a certain sense, all the attributes of God were 
concerned in man's redemption ; but it was love that 
moved in his cause, and it was love that produced the 
means, and carried the whole plan into execution. 
The apostle in our context says, " Herein is love, not 
that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His 
fson to be the propitiation for our sins." 



94 North Carolina Sermons. 

But, in order to a comprehensive view of God's 
love, as manifested in our redemption, we must take into 
the consideration 

First. Mail's transgression. The first sin, its nature, 
its effects. By this means we shall have a better view 
of the magnitude of the obstacles that love had to 
surmount in order to the salvation of sinners. 

Then first. Man sinned against Divine goodness, as 
will be seen in his creation, location, and surround- 
ings. As to man's creation, what more could love 
and goodness have done? In his physical make, he 
stands out bearing the marks of the finishing touches 
of perfection. As to his moral being, God breathed 
into " his nostrils the breath of life ; and man became 
a living soul." " So, God created man in His own 
image; in the image of God created He him; male 
and female created He them." "And God saw every 
thing that He had made, and behold, it was very 
good." Now, what else could love and goodness have 
done ; either, as to his physical or moral being. There 
was no want, lack, let, or hindrance, either in the crea- 
tion of his body or soul. Love and goodness could 
have done no more. 

Also, God located and surrounded man in goodness. 
This earth, untouched by sin's withering and destruc- 
tive effects, in all its glory, beauty and loveliness, was 
given him for his home! Not only a home therein, 
but he was constituted lord of the whole earth. "And 
God said, behold, I have given you every herb bear- 
ing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and 
every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding 
seed ; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast 
of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every 
thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is 
life." And as to his immediate surroundings, they 
were all made in love. For out of this vast out-spread- 
ing Eden, as the earth was, before sin had rolled its 



God's Love Manifested. 95 

flood-waves of ruin over its lovely bosom, God sought 
ouj, the most beautiful and lovely locality, and this 
He made his blessed home. " So, the Lord God planted 
a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the 
man whom He had formed. And out of the ground 
made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant 
to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in 
the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of 
good and evil." In all this, God's unbounded good- 
ness to man is seen, and against all this goodness did 
man sin. 

2. Man's transgression was against light and knowledge. 
He knew the precept, the law, and he knew the pen- 
alty of the violation of the law. He also knew the 
Law-giver. For the woman said to the serpent : "But 
of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the 
garden, God hath said, ye shall not eat of it, neither 
shall ye touch it, lest ye die." Man's sin was not the 
result of ignorance or accident. It was in the clear, 
unveiled face of the law, with a full understanding 
that the penalty of transgression was death. 

3. Man's transgression was wilful. The giving of all 
law, whether moral or civil, always implies account- 
ability, agency, on the part of those who are to act "in 
reference to said law, else, there could be no possible 
application in law. Take away a man's agency, and 
there would be as much application, and as much wis- 
dom, in giving a law to a tree or a cloud flying in the 
heavens as there would be in giving law to man. And 
the transgression of law, or sin, necessarily implies 
volition — implies the effort, or action of the will. The 
truth is, sin is the effort, action of the will itself, and the 
thing done is only the outward evidence of the in- 
ward sin. Hence, our Saviour says : u But I say unto 
you, that whosoever looketh upon a woman, to lust 
after her, hath committed adultery with her already 
in his heart." So man's sin was wilful. He willed, 



96 North Carolina Sermons. 

and the hand was stretched out. He willed, and the 
sad work was done! Strange may have been the hour, 
and stranger still the deed ! But whatever else may 
be the facts bearing upon this case, it is true that his 
sin was wilful. Take away a man's will, and he ceases 
to be accountable. Like the axe in the hand of the 
woodman, he only acts as he is acted upon by some 
outside force. The axe falls to the tree, but the hand 
that directs the fell blows, is accountable for the work 
done. 

4. Man's sin is ruinous in its effects.. It tainted and 
poisoned the air, so that, every passing breeze bears 
the principles of disease and death in its wings. Its 
curse fell with dreadful effect upon the earth. It 
marred and soiled its loveliness and beauty. It with- 
ered and scorched its sweetest flowers. It brought up 
the ' thorn and thistle.' It drew ability and liberality 
from her soil, and left it barren and stingy, so that, it 
is sadly true, that man eats bread in the sweat of his 
face. God said to Adam : "Cursed is the ground for 
thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days 
of thy life: thorns also and thistles shall it bring 
forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. 
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou 
return unto the ground." 

But sin fell out upon the soul of man with sadder 
consequences, still, cutting off its source of life and 
happiness, and dashing it upon its own ruinous rocks, 
leaving it in the grave of sin and death, and in the 
wake of ruin, that sin had made in the world. 

The body, too, did not escape this awful shock ; for 
temporal death seized, with iron fingers, every vital of 
life, and holds them fast ; and man is soon crushed 
down into death and the grave! Alas! this world of 
ours, once a fair and lovely eden, over which the morn- 
ing stars sang together, and shouted for very joy ; but 
sin has made it one mournful burying ground. Yes, 



God's Love Manifested. 97 

" sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so 
death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." 

But last of all, upon this position, but not least, sin 
raised an additional rebellion in God's universe, and 
leagued it with rebel angels. So, the world, leagued 
with hell, and led on by the devil, and followed by his 
own hellish legions, took possession of the earth for 
his own stronghold, and made himself the prince and 
power of the aii'. Alas! alas! for fallen man ! What 
love was this, both in quality and quantit}', that over- 
leaps all these obstacles, and goes down to the very 
gates of hell, and tears the chains and fetters off the 
sinner, delivers him from the countless hosts of hell, 
and bears him away to the privileges and blessings 
secured for him through the atoning merits of Jesus 
Christ? 0! what, but a heart of stone, would be 
moved by such a "manifestation" of love? Who, 
but a devil, would not be drawn to the bosom from 
whence such love emanates? 

Secondly. God's love ivas manifested in the means pro- 
duced, and also in the manner of its application. Such 
was the completeness of man's ruin in his fall, such 
its nature, and such his surroundings, that he had no 
means of deliverance. Neither had lie any friend to 
help him. No, no created eye could helpingly pity, 
no arm could save. And God was the offended, (in 
our manner of expression) and man the offender, and 
yet, such was His love that it moved Him to lay help 
on "One who is mighty." 

I 1. Then, God's Son ivas the means provided in the plan 
of cur redemption. Man fell so far, and so hard, that 
his moral nature was utterly crushed. His condition 
was such, and his surroundings such, that he could 
not be redeemed with corruptible things. In all the 
range of God's universe, it seems there were no means 
of recovery for man save that which was provided, 
which was His Son ! His only Son ! His well beloved 
and only begotten Son ! 



98 ] North ^Carolina Sermons. 

2. The manner in which God redeemed sinners through 
His Son. Well, He sent Him. "Because that God 
sent Plis only begotten Son into the world." He did 
not send Him to some bright and sunny clime, where 
he would be hailed and greeted by hosts of shining 
intelligent ones. But, He sent Him to this sin-cursed 
earth. He sent Him to this world, enveloped in the 
breath of hell, in one thick and dark cloud, cutting 
off the rays of moral light, and shrouding the souls 
of men in the drapery of damnation. He sent Him 
to this world, the prowl of devils, and the stronghold 
of hell. He sent Him to this world, where he must meet 
the onslaught of the combined forces of earth and 
hell.. Yes, He sent Him to His own, but His own re- 
ceived Him not, but cried, " We will not have this man 
to reign over us." And though He came with cre- 
dentials clear, that He was the promised Messiah, and 
though all Jewery was upon tip-toe in anxious expec- 
tation of His coming ; yet, when He rame, His own 
people cried, " Away with Him, friend of publicans 
and sinners, Sabbath breaker, traitor, He hath a devil, 
let Him be crucified!" But God's love endures and 
forbears; else, he would have sent legions of angels 
and swept men, devils, the world and all down to the 
wildest damnatiun. " For God so loved the world, that 
He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever be- 
lieveth in Him should not perish, but have everlast- 
ing life." 

God's love, also, is manifested in giving to the world 
the active obedience of His son. He sent Him to labor, 
to fulfill all prophecy and all righteousness. So, ' He 
took not upon Him the nature of angels, but the form 
of a servant.' He became servant of all. He becomes 
a public teacher and preacher. He preaches His own 
gospel through the country, and in the towns and vil- 
lages, as well as in the city. He labors by day and 
by night. He labors for the good of the body as well 
as the soul. For He gives sight to the blind, sound- 



God's Love Manifested. 99 

ness to the lame, and the sick are made well, devils 
are cast out, and the dead are raised up. 

But, God's love specially is manifested in giving to the 
tvorld the passive obedience of His son. He suffers Him- 
self arrested by His enemies, saying, "this is your 
hour, and the power of darkness." They lead Him 
away, and bring Him before Herod and Pilate. They 
put a mock robe upon Him, crown Him with thorns, 
spit upon Him, beat Him with their hands, and with 
rods, and clammer for His blood until Pilate washes 
bis hands in their presence, and claims that he is in- 
nocent of His blood, saying, " I find no fault in this 
man," and delivers Him over to the will of the Jews. 
So, the Jews led Him away to a place called Calvar}', 
"there they crucified Him." The law demanded the 
shedding of blood, and without it there is "no remis- 
sion" of sins. Therefore, God in love, gives His son to 
suffer the death of the Cross. So, they nail Him to 
the accursed tree! He gives His, blood. He gives 
His life. The son bows His head and cries, " my God, 
my God, why hast thou forsaken rue?" He said "it is 
finished," " and gave up the ghost." Now, a foun- 
tain wells up in the house of David, and the ladder 
which Jacob saw plants its feet hard by leaning its 
head upon the door-way of heaven, over which. the 
angels ascend and descend, and upon it saints are en- 
tering their eternal and blessed home. Well might 
the apostle in our text say, "In this was manifested 
the love of God toward us." " Herein is love, not 
that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His 
son to be the propitiation for our sins." 

" O, for this love let rocks and hills 

Their lasting silence break! 
And all harmonious human tongues 

The Saviour's praises speak. 
Angels, assist our mighty joys; 

Strike all your harps of gold; 
But when you raise your highest notes, 

[His love can ne'er be told!" 



100 North Carolina Sermons. 

Thirdly. The purpose for which the Father sent 
His sou into the world was that tve might live through 
Him. He sent Him that sinners might have life from a 
death of sin. " Wherefore, as by one man, sin en- 
tered into the world, and death by sin ; and so death 
passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." 

Then first. He sent Him that the soul might have 
life from a death of sin. He sent His son that the 
soul, through Him, might be resurrected from the grave 
of sin and death. For Christ says, " Verily, verily, I 
say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when 
the dead shall hear the voice of the son of God; and 
they that hear shall live." And the apostle Paul says, 
"Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, 
and Christ shall give thee light." And again, the same 
apostle says to the Gallatians, " God hath sent forth 
the spirit of His son into your hearts, crying, Abba, 
Father." So, then, by penitency and faith, the soul is 
brought into contact with Christ, the great heart of 
salvation, which sends life thrilling through every 
avenue and faculty of the soul. Then, the soul not 
only enjoys life, but " peace with God, through our 
Lord Jesus Christ." Yes, and his peace often rises 
into joy unspeakable and full of glory. Now, the 
soul lives a life " hid with Christ in God." So that 
God's purpose, in part, in sending His son into the 
world, is accomplished, in giving life to souls "dead 
in trespasses and in sins." 

2. God sent His son that we might have life indeath. 
Death, according to the apostle, is a condition in 
which the soul is separated from the body. But death, 
when applied to God's children, is a condition in 
which the body only fails, and faints, and dies. It is 
the hour in which the saint leaves his old house, 
crumbling to ruins, until repaired by the Master in 
the last day, and goes to live with his elder brother in 
the "house" prepared by Him in Paradise. Hence, 



God's Love Manifested. 101 

the apostle could say to the Corinthians, "For we 
know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle 
were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not 
made with hands, eternal iu the heavens." And the 
same apostle could say. " and to die is gain." And 
Christ could say to the thief on the Cross, " To-day 
shalt thou be with rae in Paradise." Yes, bright an- 
gels, warm from the eternal altar of God, winged 
themselves through the heavens down to the rich 
man's gate to move the poor to his new home in glory. 

I once knew a pious young man who lingered un- 
der disease a long time, and during his illness'his 
topics of conversation were Jesus, heaven, and home. 
And when the end came his dying words were, "Glory 
to God, sweet Jesus, take me home !" 

I was once acquainted with a pious elderly lady 
who, too, was afflicted a long time. My last visit to 
her house was just before her departure, when she 
said to me: "0, I wish I could tell you how good the 
Lord has been to me during my sickness." Then she 
paused a moment, and said, "but I am almost gone, 
and I know I am not deceived. I see my way so clearly, 
and I am so happy too. I shall soon be home. 
Brother L., tell everybody that a christian can meet 
death and fear no evil. 0, glory ! Alleluia! Is this 
death?" Well might the man of song sing, 

' ' Jesus can make a dying bed 

Feel soft as downy pillows are, 
While on His breast I lean my head, 

And breathe my life out sweetly there." 

Live? Yes! Take up the gospel mirror and scan 
the scenes beyond the ocean. See the coasts of the 
glory world lined with countless hosts of the church 
of the living God. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all 
redeemed and saved, have gone safely through death 
and now live with Christ in glory. 

6 



102 North Carolina Sermons. 

3. God sent His son that we might have life from 
the grave. He sent Him that saints should have a 
glorious resurrection of the body. And when He 
came He proclaimed this gloriou^ truth, saying, "I 
am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in 
me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." Job saw 
the resurrection of the body, though he lived so far 
back in the world. He seems to have climbed to the 
very pinnacle of the mount of inspiration, overlooking 
the hills of time; he scans the scenes as they transpire 
in the last day, and as joy thrills his soul he cries, 
saving, " For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and 
that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth ; 
and though, after my skin, worms destroy this body, 
yet in my flesh shall I see God." Isaiah, too, as if car- 
ried forward by the spirit of inspiration beyond the 
dawn of the last day, cries, saying : "Thy dead men 
shall live, together with my dead body shall they 
arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust, for 
thy dew is as the dew of the herbs, and the earth shall 
cast out the dead." God sent His son that soul and 
body might be saved in heaven forever. " For God 
so loved the world that He gave His only begotten 
son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not 
perish, but have everlasting life." 



Light of Revelation. 103 



LIGHT OF REVELATION. 

By Rev. Dr. E. L. Perkins, 
Of the North Carolina Local Ministers' Conference. 



The entrance of thy words giveth light. — PSA. CXIX:130. 

All knowledge comes to us by comparison. The in- 
fant first learns to distinguish its mother from its 
father, or other friends, by comparing the features of 
those with whom its infant life is associated. The 
child learns to distinguish one character in the alpha- 
bet from another by comparing their shapes. He 
notices the variations in their angles and curves and 
thereby learns to distinguish one from another. So it 
is in all the lessons of life. 

There are no two things that afford a more striking 
contrast, in an attempt at comparison, than light and 
darkness, which invariably serve to illustrate the dif- 
ference between knowledge and ignorance. Darkness 
is the absence of light as ignorance is the absence of 
information. In developing the doctrine of this text 
we are led to compare the two conditions of human so- 
ciet}' — that in which the light of Revelation has never 
taken effect, and that in which the words of light and 
life have been unfolded. 

The necessity of light implies darkness, and the 
first inference drawn from the text is that where the 
light of the Word has not entered, darkness abounds. 
That the mind of man, away from the influence of 
Revelation, is ignorant and depraved, and in that state 
to which the word darkness is peculiarly appropriate. 

Of these facts Revelation and history testify abund- 



104 North Carolina Sermons. 

antly. Revelation teaches that, " The way of the 
wicked is as darkness." " Having the understanding 
darkened." u Evil men leave the paths of upright- 
ness to walk in the way of darkness." " Men love 
darkness rather than light because their deeds are 
evil." They love bad company because they have a taste 
for it. One of the sacred witnesses represents the dark- 
ness as being "gross darkness" — so positively plain 
as that its effects are seen and felt by all men. 

History furnishes no alleviation of this picture. Ex- 
amine the history of man in all stages of society, out- 
side of Bible influences. How heavily the human 
mind gravitates towards the baser forms of thought 
and sensuality ! How slow to grope its way into 
better conditions ! How hard, even for the more en- 
lightened, to leave the old groves of scholastic thought. 
The " inertia of slow comprehension " seems to be a 
chronic disease, penetrating the entire system of man's 
thoughts and emotions. He plunges into absurdities, 
holds to his superstitions, clings to his idols ; he hugs 
his delusions and loves his darkness. Demons serve 
his purpose, as objects of worship, far better than the 
Creator of all things and the controller of all desti- 
nies. "The imagination of the thoughts of his heart 
are evil, and only evil, and that continually." War 
and bloodshed, with all manner of atrocities, are his 
delight, and his acts resemble a demon sent on a mis- 
sion of vengeance to win the greatest prize by working 
the deepest misery. The whole history of man is sim- 
ply a history of oppression and resistance, with all its 
sickening details, to appall the reader and disgust the 
philanthropist. Il is indeed a " gross darkness " that 
has covered the minds of the family of man. 

Now the question arises, how shall this darkness be 
scattered? Some would suggest the refinements of 
literature and science. But if this is as far as you ex- 
pect to go, you " only avoid Scylla to be wrecked upon 



Light op Revelation. 105 

Caribdis." The most dangerous wild beast ever let 
loose upon the community is an educated, immoral 
man. He will prey upon and devour every interest 
in the community, to gain wealth, to be consumed on 
his own lusts, which ultimately consume him. But 
suppose we try the scheme. Educate him in all the 
branches of polite literature and of science. Let phi- 
losophy take full possession of his intellect; lead him 
through the intricate mazes of scientific investigation. 
Now, when science has turned him out a finished 
scholar, and attempts to dismiss him from its further 
teachings, I see him turning to his teacher and say- 
ing, " You have taught me whence I am and what I 
am, but tell me now whither I am going? What is 
to be the end of all this hoarded treasure of the intel- 
lect? Is it all to go down with me into the grave, 
and is that the final conclusion ? Now, what answer 
does the thirsty soul get? Philosophy folds her arms, 
bows her head, and makes no reply. The intellect is 
still left in its wandering mazes to grope its way, as 
best it can, to satisfactory conclusions. 

The fact is that education in the light of mere in- 
tellectual development, uncovers as many difficulties 
as it explains. One question is answered by opening 
the door to many others, just as in exploring the Mam- 
moth Cave, the entrance into one cavern reveals the 
opening to others. With all the student's develop- 
ment he is still in the dark. How shall he escape ? 

The text points to the true source of relief — the 
light of Revelation. " The entrance of thy words giveth 
light," and Christ says, " I am sent a light into the 
world that whosoever believeth in me should not abide 
in darkness." Taking these thoughts, as the base of 
operation, we set out with this proposition : That the 
light of Revelation is the only true and all-sufficient 
guide to the intellect of man. Revelation pours the 



106 North Carolina Sermons. 

true light even upon the scientific mind. The Psalm- 
ist says: " It is God that teacheth man science." We 
have no hesitancy in declaring that the intellect of 
any individual, by embracing the principles of Chris- 
tianity, becomes broader and deeper than that same 
intellect could ever have been without those princi- 
ples. Take an illustration, out of many that could be 
given. A little over two hundred years ago William 
Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood. 
The unfortunate Servetus had his finger against the 
thing he sought. Sylvius had discovered that there 
were valves situated at certain intervals along the 
track of the blood-vessels. Fabricus had noticed that 
all the valves^pointed in one direction ; thus approach- 
ing the verge of discovery without seeing it. Harvey 
came to the task with his Christiau mind, and stand- 
ing in the very same tracks where Sylvius and Fabri- 
cus had stood, saw what they had failed to discover. 
The others said the valves were not essential, but were 
to be accounted as " nature's superfluities." Harvey, 
as a Christian, believed that nature had no superflui- 
ties, that everything was made for a purpose, and 
these valves had a purpose. What could it be but to 
prevent the blood from returning in the same track 
it had past? Experiment proved his conclusions true, 
and the circulation of the blood was announced as a 
fact demonstrated before the world. This was a com- 
plete triumph of a Christian mind, establishing the 
Christian sentiment that nothing is created in vain, 
but everything for a purpose. An intellect guided by- 
the light of Revelation pu hes its inquiries to com- 
pletion, where infidels, with their fingers at 'the same 
point, turn back disgusted with the " superfluities of 
nature." Newton, Kepler and others made their 
grandest discoveries by holding in view the Divine 
suggestion, that all things were created by God, and 



Light op Revelation. 107 

"In wisdom hast thou founded them all." History 
is full of incidents on this point, but to multiply them 
is unnecessary. 

The teachings of Revelation develop the grandest 
results in communities. Follow its history and watch 
its effects. In Judea the simple edict went forth, " Go 
ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every 
creature." No earthly potentate ever issued a decree 
that carried such results. The simple story of the 
cross was first told in Jerusalem, and the minds of 
three thousand persons were illumined in oneda} 7 . The 
tide of feeling was too full to be pent up in one city. 
It overflowed at all points, and swept off in all direc- 
tions. It leaped over national boundaries, and broad 
seas were no hindrance, and mountains no barriers to 
its progress. Wherever the Word went, whether in 
the logic of Paul or the simple statements of Peter, 
the effect was the same. False philosophy was shat- 
tered, the idols tumbled, their temples crumbled, 
thrones trembled, and empires wilted away. To day 
the kingdoms of the earth have been remodeled or are 
being remodeled upon the principles of the Word sent 
forth in the great decree to preach the Gospel. 

The work has had its struggles, and martyrs have 
fallen by the way. The contest has been sharp, and 
at times, to human eyes, seemed doubtful, but thanks 
be to God, who giveth us the victory through our 
Lord Jesus Christ, the final result is no longer poised 
in the scale of doubt and uncertainty. The advanc- 
ing hosts have had their Baals to curse them, their 
Judases to betray them, their Herods to hunt down 
their infant undertakings, their Pilots to sentence them 
to death, their Neroes to slaughter or burn them, and 
their mobs to stone them, but the fires of persecution 
only warmed them into more active life and unfailing 
energy. 

To-day all the great improvements of the earth are 



108 North Carolina Sermons. 

carried on in the blaze of christian faith. Wherever 
the Word has entered, "light has been sown for the 
righteous and gladness for the upright in heart." The 
grandest intellectual achievements are found among 
those people enlightened by the preaching of the gos- 
pel. Christianity lays a just claim to ail the great re- 
sults of the arts and sciences that now spread their 
utilizing effects over the world. Heathens built mon- 
uments of useless glory, but Christianity has its tri- 
umphs in those inventions that carry comfort and 
happiness to the hearts and homes of men. The in- 
ventions of Paganism were associated with oppression 
and cruelty. The inventions of Christianity are asso- 
ciated with convenience and usefulness to the masses 
of the people. Every steamboat, railroad and tele- 
graph line is a sermon in compliment of Christianity. 
Relying upon " the sure word of prophesy" we have 
faith to believe that this progress will continue until 
the great concluding proclamation shall go forth, 
" The kingdoms of this world have become the king- 
doms of God and of his Christ." 

The entrance of the word gives light to individual 
experience. It benefits all classes and conditions of 
society. The mariner may find in the Bible his bea- 
con light to guide him over the stormy sea of life. 
The soldier may find a motto for his banner, " Fight 
the good fight of faith/' The orator his inspiration, 
"Open thy mouth and I will fill it." The statesman 
will here find the true rule of law, " Whatever ye 
would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to 
them." The best of all is, the poor afflicted child of 
sorrow can find here the light of consolation, " Our 
light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh 
for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of 
glory." Are you forsaken and driven from home, 
come here for light, " When my father and my mother 
forsake me, then the Lord will take me up." Are you 



Bounds of Responsibility. 109 

in the midst of distress, here is light for you, " All 
;hings shall work together for good to thern that love 
3od." Here the laborer finds his consolation, " Come 
into me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I 
will give you rest." Here, too, is light for the dying, 
' I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never 
serish." 

The word of God throws a flood of light upon the 
2jrave. The materialist will follow his child to the 
?rave and bid him farewell forever and forever. The 
christian mother follows her child to the grave and 
says, " Good-bye, till I meet you in heaven." One 
system looks to the grave as the end of all human ac- 
:ion, the other looks at the grave as the seed-bed of 
light and life. 



Errata. — In the first Volume of North Carolina 
Sermons, page 182, for the star $yra, read Lyra. On 
page 189, for ratifera read rotifera. 



BOUNDS OF RESPONSIBILITY. 

By Rev. Thos. S. Campbell, 
Of the North Carolina Conference. 



The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from 
the midst of thee of thy brethren like unto me; unto him 
shall ye hearken. And it shall come to pass that whosoever 
will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my 
name I will require it of him. — Deut. xviii: 15, 19. 

Job says, " The spirit of the Lord hath created me, 
and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." 
This is true of every man. " It is he that hath made 



110 North Carolina Sermons. 

us," which shows that we are related to the highest 
intelligence ; even the fountain and source of all wis- 
dom and power. We stand in such a relation as ex- 
ists between no other beings : the relation of Creator 
and creature ; the independent Lord and the depen- 
dent servant. Such relations cannot exist without 
obligation on the part of the creature and servant. 
In the Divine economy we also find ourselves corre- 
lated to our species so that there are special obliga- 
tions existing in those relations; as husband and wife, 
parents and children, &c. Does not obligation, the 
being bound to duty, necessarily include responsibil- 
ity? I have a conscience, a moral sense in me, that 
perceives moral qualities in human character and ac- 
tions. There is right and there is wrong; things just 
and things unjust. I have a conviction that I ought 
to "do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with 
God." The existence of this conscience is demonstra- 
tion of the existence of God. If God exists He exists 
as a law-giver. The Prophet foretold in the text, is 
the law-giver incarnated ; a prophet and teacher who 
interprets and applies his own law. There is no mis- 
take as to the law. The letter is patent, " But I say 
unto you " forever explains and applies the rule. 
From the time God first spoke to man, "Be fruitful 
and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it," 
and the second time, " Of the tree of knowledge of 
good and evil thou shalt not eat of it ;" and on 
through the ages, to the giving of the written law, we 
are shown the " One Lord and Law- giver," whose will 
is the only law for man's observance. Every com- 
mand or precept invested with divine authority is of 
binding force. Primarily man was prohibited from 
doing wrong by eating what was forbidden. He was 
enjoined, even before he knew sin, to take charge, in 
a measure, of the affairs of this world. To " multiply 
upon the face of the earth, subdue and replenish it." 



Bounds of Responsibility. Ill 

"These precepts were given as a test of man's obedience 
and proof of a dependent probationary state." It 
was necessary that while he had d< minion as God's 
vicegerant in this world he should know that he was 
accountable to God for the use of his mental and cor- 
poreal powers. 

"The man from whose mind the impression of this 
dependence and responsibility is removed loses sight 
both of his origin and end, and is capable of any 
species of wickedness." We inquire first, What con- 
stitutes a responsible being? 

(a^) It will be admitted that one must have capacity 
to understand duty. 

As there is an adaptation of the eye to the light of 
the sun, so there is an adaptation of a responsible be- 
ing to the law of the Lord. " For the commandment 
is a lamp and the law is light." The law of the Lord 
is simple and comprehensive. Precepts are not given 
to irrational beings, but to intelligent agents. It is 
as much a folly to exhibit beauty to the blind, and 
expect to charm the deaf with music, as to look for 
obedience to law from one who has no capacity to un- 
derstand and obey Bible precepts. 

(b.) Instruction must be ample, full. 

The mental and moral powers of the infant grad- 
ually unfold till maturity The " True Light, en- 
lightening every man coming into the world," shines 
upon the mind and heart of every man. God has 
unfolded the volume of nature so as to make known 
his " Eternal Power and Godhead." He sent his 
prophets in the olden times. In these last days he 
has spoken by his son, emphasizing all his instruc- 
tions by calling the world to " Hear Him." This was 
foretold in our text. "He that hath ears to hear let 
hira hear." The writings of these prophets, the " say- 
ings " of Him who "spoke as never man spake" with 
the practical application of all, in the book of Acts 



112 North Carolina Sermons. 

and the Apostolic Epistles, comprehend the will of 
God as revealed to man. This revelation teaches his 
intellect, enlightens his conscience, awakens his emo- 
tions and furnishes him a rule of life. 

(c.) Another requisite of a responsible being is the 
ability to discharge the duties required. A respon- 
sible being must be a free-agent. He must have 
power to choose or refuse, to do or forbear doing. Can 
there be any doubt as to the truth of these proposi- 
tions ? If a person had no power to decide for virtue 
and against vice, I cannot see how he could be re- 
warded for the one and punished for the other. T[he 
enforcement of law proceeds upon the ground that 
the observance or disregard of law is voluntary. A 
most important part of man's original creation — free- 
agency — was lost, with all his other rights, by the first 
sin, as truly as the free agency of any prisoner now 
incarcerated and manacled in jail, is lost as a citizen ; 
but under the new conditions in which grace placed 
man, his free agency was restored to him. Under 
such conditions we all are born and living to-day. 
How great the responsibility? (d.) With the means 
of ascertaining our duty and the ability to discharge 
it, we have what may be termed Opportunity. This 
is called the day of visitation, the accepted time, and 
day of salvation. During these gracious seasons we 
are called to repentance, and have space, time, for re- 
pentance. The " Lamb of God who taketh away the 
sin of the world " is set before us. Behold Him ; 
look to Him and be saved. God hath sent Him forth 
to be a propitiation through faith in His blood to de- 
clare His righteousness in the remission of the sins 
that are past. Here we have the means of justifica- 
tion. His blood cleanseth from all sin. Here we 
have the means of sanctification. 

2. We next consider what responsibility compre- 
hends. 



Bounds of Responsibility. 113 

(a.) It is a principle of Revelation that responsibil- 
ity is proportioned to our advantages. " To whomso- 
ever much is given, of him shall much be required." 
The parable of the talents shows that according to 
ability so is the distribution, and the account was by 
the same rule. A man is never condemned for a 
thing he could not do, nor rewarded for doing more 
than duty. Responsibility comprehends all that re- 
lates to the fountain of character. We live under con- 
ditions favorable for securing salvation from sin, a 
holy character and life. If we neglect the conditions, 
how shall we escape condemnation ? If we perversely 
spurn this offer of salvation, verily God will require 
us to account for this, as well as all the deeds of a 
wicked life. If you allow yourself indulgence by 
neglecting the ordinances, offices and duties, which 
you are obligated to observe, God will require if of 
you. 0, ye whose reLgion consists of empty vessels, 
vessels without oil, extinguished and untrimmed 
lamps and slumbering drowsiness; while apparently 
waiting for the bridegroom, you are responsible for 
this state of things. Others may be veiy defective 
and deficient. Their defects and faults will never 
furnish us with a passport to heaven. For what is 
wrong or defective in yourself you alone are respon- 
sible. 0, how many are not such as they ought to 
be ! How many are not such as they know they must 
be before they are fit for heaven ? Why this defi- 
ciency, and who is responsible for it ? Where does the 
blame rest? 

(b.) But " none of us liveth to himself." An influ- 
ence goes out from each one as truly as his shadow 
goes where he goes. " Walk circumspectly, not as 
tools, but as wise," is the apostolic precept, looking to 
all surroundings, see that in all our ways we acknowl- 
edge God. The measure of a man's responsibility as 
a member of society is indicated, Exodus xxi : 28, 29 : 



114 North Carolina Sermons. 

" If an ox gore a man or a woman that they die, the 
ox shall surely be stoned ; but the owner of the ox 
shall be quit. But if the ox were wont to push with his 
horns in time past, and it hath been testified to the 
owner, and he hath not kept him ; but that he hath 
killed a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and 
his owner also shall be put to death." No one under 
the law of God has a right to use what even belongs 
to him, to the injury of society, or the damage of a 
neighbor. Has a man a right, under God's law, to 
engage in any business or to countenance any calling 
that works damage to the physical or moral welfare 
of his fellow men. It becomes us all seriously to en- 
quire how largely we are responsible for Sabbath dese- 
cration, the damaging use of intoxicants, and many 
other injurious practices. The measure of a man's re- 
sponsibility is the measure of his means of usefulness. 
Has he education, social position, wealth ? These are 
furnished him in the providence of God as talents, for 
the use of which he is held responsible. For a man 
thus endowed to become selfish, avaricious, hard, ex- 
acting, cruel and oppressive, is to subject himself to 
the punishment of those who beat their Lord's ser- 
vants, instead of doing them good. Many men are 
largely responsible for the evils and disorders that 
prevail in our land. They do nothing to check vice 
and promote virtue. They agree that something 
ought to be done, and somebody ought to do it. The 
shirking of responsibility is an ancient trick. It was 
shown by the first sinner when he cast the blame 
upon his wife, and by her when she said " the serpent 
beguiled me and I did eat." Even now it seems hard 
to fix responsibility where it properly belongs. The 
single inhabitant of a house is doubtless responsible 
for the condition of the house; but how if a family 
dwell in the house where it is supposed responsibility 
is divided. Suppose you find it in disorder, who is to 



Bounds op Responsibility. 115 

blame? The servants, the children or the mistress? 
(c.) So, also, is the church ; what a disposition to shirk 
responsibility from ourselves to others! The truth is, 
each has his share; none are exempt. "Every man 
shall bear his own burden." To that extent, you may 
be responsible for disregard of discipline ; for infidel- 
ity to church vows; and for lack of interest and zeal 
in church enterprise and labor, I cannot say, but God 
knoweth. (d.) As parents, what a weight of respon- 
sibility rests upon you. When God gives you chil- 
dren, He says, Psalm 127: 8, "Children are a herit- 
age of the Lord." They are the lambs of the Lord's 
flock entrusted to your guardianship. How great the 
responsibility of parenthood. "Take this child and 
nurse it for me." 

" Suffer the little children to come unto me," i. e., 
they must be brought to Christ as declarative that 
they belong to Him — they are His " heritage." Then, 
in His stead, as His servants and appointed guardians, 
train them in the nurture and admonition of the 
Lord. This responsibility cannot be set aside or ab- 
rogated. It may be disregarded, and the obligation 
ignored. Bat God requires it. 

3. Enquire how long responsibility lasts? 

(a.) God's kingdom is everlasting Daniel assures us. 
It shall stand forever. Amidst the rising and falling 
of empires, kingdoms and republics, it stands. The 
throne of God is forever and ever. It had no begin- 
ning. The King is from everlasting to everlasting; 
and ruleth over all. You are its subject. The rela- 
tions established between the "One Law-giver" and 
his subjects are unending. His subjects have an in- 
herent immortality. Duration once begun, with re- 
gard to man, is perpetual. There is nothing more 
clearly set forth in the Bible than this. 

(b.) If we are once subjects we will so remain while 
our nature lasts. As such, we are all either righteous, 



116 North Carolina Sermons. 

i. e., pardoned and justified ; or we are guilty and con- 
demned. We are either on probation or reward. If 
these declarations be so, it is fearfully true that men 
are forever responsible for the character they bear, and 
all unholy living. Their unholy works do follow. 
They are in the Book of God's Remembrance. The 
reward of a wicked, unholy irreligious life will be 
given them. It is written, " Behold I come quickly, 
and my reward is with me, to give every man accord- 
ing as his work shall be. He that is unjust, let him 
be unjust still ; and he which is filthy, let him be fil- 
thy still, eternally unjust, condemned, there is no par- 
don." "Filthy still," shall ring through the ages, 
'ihere is no remedy to heal the soul, for mediation is 
ended. There is no Intercessor; no "fountain filled 
with blood." 

(c.) " I will require it of him." " How cometh thou 
here not having a wedding garment?" You are not 
clothed for the occasion or the company. The in- 
truder was speechless ; said nothing ; had nothing in 
extenuation to say. So it may be — perhaps will be 
with you. 

(d.) At the final day, obedience will not be required 
of those adjudged guilty. But the infliction of pen- 
alty. Those mine enemies bring hither, they shall be 
beaten with many stripes. The last hope is w T recked. 
There is no deliverance except through Christ. Him 
they have spurned. They shall depart with a curse ; 
a curse once uttered and never revoked. But he who 
heareth the word of this prophesy and keepeth it in 
heart, and as the guide of his life, has God for his 
friend, Christ for his salvation, and heaven for his 
home. Blessed are they that do his commandments, 
that they may have right to the Tree of Life and en- 
ter through the gates into the city. — Rev. xxj.i : 14. 



Divinity of Christ. 117 



DIVINITY OF CHRIST. 



By Rev. T. Page Ricaud, 
Of the North Carolina Conference. 



But whom say ye that I am ? And Simon Peter an- 
swered : Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God. — 
Matt, xvi : 15, 16. 

Men have in all ages, since the introduction of Chris- 
tianity, more or less differed concerning the Messiah. 
Some have said He was a prophet, of high and holy 
character — God's messenger or representative. Many 
of them admitted His divine character, but not His 
eternal power and Godhead. His enemies, when on 
earth, said, " Thou hast a devil, and art a blasphemer." 
Napoleon said, "Jesus Christ was more than man." 
Peter, speaking of the Apostles, said, "Thou art 
Christ, the Son of the Living God." 

This answer, which our Lord said was revealed to 
Peter by " My Father which is in heaven," is that state- 
ment of the doctrine of the person of Christ, received 
by all believers in Evangelical Christianity. 

What says it? That Christ is botn human and di- 
vine: that in His person the Infinite, Eternal, Al- 
mighty God, is united to the finite, created, dependent 
man. Any other interpretation would be contradic- 
tory, irrational and manifestly absurd, 

1st. Because it implies that Peter needed a revela- 
tion from God to teach him either the humanity or 
Messiahship of Christ, whose apostle he was, whose 
miracles he had seen, and who had before this con- 
fessed his divine mission, notably, in John vi : 69, 
where he said, "Thou art Christ, the Son of the Liv- 
ing God !" 



118 North Carolina Sermons. 

2nd. This confession comes of a knowledge imparted 
by the Father, and is of so important a character that 
Christ charged His apostles to tell no man that He 
was the Christ — that is, Divine. Christ said to Peter, 
thus confessing Him: "On this rock I will build my 
church, and the gates of lie] 1 shall not prevail against 
it." Here it behooves us to notice two distinct errors : 

1st. It is assumed by some that the Deity of Christ 
cannot be found in the New Testament, and 

2nd. That it does not speak of Him as the Eternal 
God, who made Heaven and Earth. 

Let us consider these two points briefly : 

The first mention of Christ in the New Testament 
is in Matt. 1 : 23: " Behold a virgin shall bring forth a 
Son, and they shall call His name Emanuel," which 
being interpreted is " God with us." Isaiah, from 
whose prophecy this passage is quoted, also said : "'For 
unto us a child is born, unto unto us a Son is given." 
''And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsel- 
lor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The 
Prince of Peace. 'jL 

Again, in xliv:13, we read: Thus said the Lord, 
the King of Israel, and His Redeemer, the Lord of 
Hosts: "I am the first, and the last, and beside Me 
there is no God." 

In Revelation xxn:13, Jesus says: "I am Alpha 
and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and 
the last," 

John says, v : 20 : " And we know the Son of God 
is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we 
may know Him that is true, even in his Son, Jesus 
Christ. This is the true God, and Eternal life." 

Thomas, the most doubting of all the apostles, said : 
" My Lord and my God." 

John says: "In the beginning was the Word, and 
the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All 
things were made by Him, and without Him was not 



Divinity of Christ. 119 

anything made that was made. And the Word was 
made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we behold His 
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, 
full of grace and truth." 

Now let us read this backward : The Word who was 
made flesh and dwelt among us, ivhose glory we saw, was 
God : All things were made by Him, &c. 

2. Let us inquire, in the next place, what is His tes- 
timony concerning Himself? We answer, His spotless 
character, His entire truthfulness, His integrity, are 
admitted universally. Let us see who He is by His 
own word. 

He had on the Sabbath cured a man who had had 
an infirmity thirty eight years. For this the Jews 
sought to slay Him. He answered : " My Father 
worketh hitherto and I work." Therefore, the Jews 
sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had 
broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His 
Father, making Himself equal with God. This is 
what they understood Him to mean. Did He correct 
them, or repudiate the idea of equality with God? 
Hear Him : " The son can do nothing of Himself, but 
what He seeth the Father do, for what things soever 
He doeth these also doeth the Son likewise. For the 
Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things 
that Himself doeth." Wond'rous claim ! He sees 
all that the Father does. He does what the Father 
doeth. 

In John xvi : 15, He says : " All things that the 
Father hath are mine." In knowledge and power, 
then, He has what the Father hath ! He said to Nic- 
odemus: "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, 
but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of 
man, which is in heaven." Again, He says: "For 
where two or three are gathered in my name, there am 
I in the midst of them." Again, observe the language 
of the commission given to the Apostle, on the eve of 



120 North Carolina Sermons. 

his departure : " Lo, I am with you alway, even to the 
end of the world." In these passages are taught His 
Omnipresence. 

Again, "Then said the Jews unto Him, thou art 
not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?" 
Jesus said unto them : " Verily, verily, I say unto 
you, before Abraham was, I am." 

In Exodus, iii. c: 14 v., we read : "And God said 
unto Moses, I am, that I am." This is the name 
claimed by Jesus when He was told He was not fifty 
years old, the I Am — the Eternal Uncreated One. 

In John vi. c, 62 v., He said : " What, and if ye 
shall see the Son of Man ascend up to heaven, where 
He was before." 

In John xvii c, 5 v.: " And now Father glorify 
Thou Me with Thyself,- with the glory I had with 
Thee before the world was!" These passages teach 
His Pre- existence and Eternity. 

Take His conversation with Philip when he saith 
unto Him, " Lord, show us the Father, and it sufnceth 
us." Jesus replies: " Have I been so long with you, 
and yet thou hast not known Me Philip ? Pie that 
hath seen Me hath seen the Father, and how sayest 
thou then show us the Father?" 

Again, the New Testament writers ascribe to Him 
all the divine attributes. First, Omniscience, Acts 1st 
ch. 24th verse. " And they prayed, and said : Lord, 
which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether 
of these two thou hast chosen." 

Second, Eternity and Immortality: " Jesus Christ, 
the same yesterday, to-clay, and forever." 

Paul, stricken down on the road to Damascus, cries 
out : " Who art thou, Lord ?" and is answered, " I am 
Jesus whom thou persecutest." 

Dying Stephen prayed : " Lord Jesus, receive my 
spirit." The Jews put Him to death as a blasphemer. 
He said, "I and my Father are one," whereupon 



Divinity op Christ. 121 

they began to stone Him. Jesu? said : " Many good 
works have I shown you from my Father ; for which 
of those works do ye stone Me ?" They replied : "For 
a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy, 
and because that Thou being a man makest thyself 
God." 

In Hebrew we read : " And let all the angels of God 
worship Him." He forgave sins, which none but God 
could do. He declared His power over death: "De- 
stroy this temple (His body) and in three days I will 
raise it up." " No man taketh my life from me. I 
have power to lay it down, and I have power to take 
it again." To Martha, He said : " I am the resurrec- 
tion the life !" Sublime enunciation. It stands un- 
equalled for augustness, and is indeed expressive of 
His divinity. 

This is the testimony of Him who "spake as man 
never spake." It is also the testimony of the Apostles 
and writers of the New Testament. It is the testi- 
mony of many of the noblest and greatest of earth. 
He proved himself greater than the enchanting Bard 
of David, who called Him "Lord" — greater than 
John the Baptist, who said : " There comes One 
mightier than 1, after me, the latchet of whose shoes 
I am not worthy to unloose," — greater than Peter, 
who said, " Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, 
Lord," — greater than Paul, who said, " This is a faith- 
ful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ 
Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I 
am chief," — greater than all on earth, and adored 
by angels in heaven. Who is Jesus of Nazareth but 
the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the 
ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and 
which is to come, the Almighty ! 

Again, what do the following passages mean, and 
what do they teach ? We answer : First, Equality. 
" He counted it no robbery to be equal with God." 



122 North Carolina Sermons. 

Second, Oneness and sameness: "In Him dwelleth all 
the fullness of the Godhead bodily." And again : 
" God over all, and blessed forever more." 

We see His divinity taught in the Baptismal form : 
" Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." Here, let us consider 
another feature of this form : " intotlee 7iame" — not 
names — implying the unity of the three — i. e., One- 
ness. And now behold Him after His resurrection 
addressing them as above. They see him the same 
Jesus, but oh ! how different. The days of his humil- 
iation are past. Now, the Victor over death ! — in 
His manner already constituted, " Lord of all things," 
— in His message, spoken as if from the throne of the 
Universe, they acquire a sublimer view of his charac- 
ter—His Divinity ! " The Son of God !" 

But the commission. There inheres in it three 
grand distinctive features. The Assertion, the Com- 
mand, the Promise. Every part of it (the commis- 
sion) is full of Divinity ! It makes one pause, for fear 
of the charge of presumption, in attempting to dis- 
cuss it. What language to come from a man, so re- 
cently despised, and condemned to an ignominious 
death! Now, here he stands, asserting supreme au- 
thority over angels and men, over animate and inani- 
mate nature; giving command to go and take posses- 
sion of the whole world in His name, pledging his 
Omnipotence and Omnipresence to make their mission 
a success. 

Imagine any mere man issuing such a command. 
At once he would have been ridiculed, denounced. 
At first some doubted, but now not one of that assem- 
blage. Why was this? Simply because the com- 
mand corresponded with what they knew, and fully 
explained and harmonized things which before were 
mysterious and confounding, considering the past, 
they saw all the wonderful events and achievements 
of his life, in his birth and his character, his history 



Divinity of Christ. 123 

and his teachings in his death, and his resurrection. 
Our Lord claimed "all power," both "in heaven and 
in earth." However much, the first part of this claim 
may excel in itself in glory, it is here asserted because 
of its bearing on the second part. If the first be ad- 
mitted, the second can never be denied. In regard to 
the first part, we say that a few days afterward he 
made his claim good. And how? He ascended and 
took possession. All principalities and powers became 
subject to Him. 

We have confined our argument exclusively to the 
scriptural view of this subject, and yet there are many 
suggestions that very naturally and fairly present 
themselves. We will content ourselves in submitting 
a few. 

It is a remarkable fact that this doctrine of Christ's 
divinity has ever been the grand central truth of the 
gospel, for in ancient times when any teacher ques- 
tioned it, such as Artemus, Tbeodosius, Paul of yam- 
seta, six of the most celebrated Bishops were selected 
by the Synod of Antioch to reiterate and maintain it. 
Also consider the words of Tertullian. He says: 
" We have been taught that God brought forth that 
Spirit, which we call the Word, that God by bringing 
Him forth begot him, that for this reason He is cailed 
the Son of God, because his substance and the sub- 
stance of God is one and the same substance, as a ray 
proceeding from the body of the sun, receives a part 
of its light without diminishing the light of the sun, 
so in the generation of the Word, spirit is derived 
from spirit, and God from God !" 

In the discussion of this important doctrine, we 
have been impressed with the magnitude of its in- 
terests, a*id the accumulative character of the testi- 
mony it furnishes. 

Let us consider, briefly, some of the circumstantial 
features. First. Nearly 1900 years the enemies of 



124 North Carolina Sermons. 

Christ have been fighting against his Truth, and yet 
it has gone on increasing in strength, majesty and 
power. Their idea has been, and is even now, that the 
doctrine of the Divinity of Christ must be extin- 
guished — nay, destroyed. They have called him a 
" Myth. " What then of history ? His work has gone 
on until billions of immortal souls, embracing kings 
and potentates, philosophers and sages, nation after 
nation, all acknowledge him " Sovereign Lord of all!" 
Strange acknowledgment for a Myth ! 

Some have dared to call him a "wicked imposter," 
but a sentiment so brutal and revolting to our moral 
sense has proven more injurious to its authors and 
their reputation, than to Him against whom it hath 
been uttered. Therefore such hardihood as that is 
now to be met, (if met at all) in the lowest strata of 
reckless depravity. 

Assaults, these days, on the character of Christ and 
his teachings, don't meet with much favor among an 
enlightened people, for they feel and see his benefi- 
cence in all the various departments of life. 

His very death was proof of his divinity, and his 
resurrection confirmed it. Rom. 1 : 4. As the heart- 
devoted Mary was gladdened when she was told, " He 
is risen," so have the hearts of countless millions been 
gladdened ever since. We, his followers, know he is 
Divine, and as long as our experience harmonizes with 
the " Written Word," just so long will we claim for 
Him that He is Divine. For, the Spirit of God hath 
written it, in characters of living light and beauty, on 
our every heart, and we will say, "My Lord, and my 
God." 

The prophecies concerning Christ, the miracles He 
wrought, the governing power He exercised" over the 
elements around Him, are proofs positive. By His 
command the roaring sea was silenced, and the raging 
billows quieted to the smoothness of a mirror surface, 



Divinity of Christ. 125 

and both tempest and storm were vanquished. The 
lame man made to "leap as an hart," the dumb to 
speak, and the dead restored to life again. By His 
presence " The solitary places were made glad, and the 
desert to rejoice and blossom as the rose." 

His ver}' -death was proof of his divinity, and His 
resurrection following confirmed it. The witnesses of 
His ascension exulted in it, and if any had doubted 
before, now they felt that Christ was the Son of God, 
and their Faith, realizing a nobler and more vigorous 
impulse, they went their way rejoicing, and making 
the welkin ring with the notes of their exultation. 
They now knew they had a risen Saviour! — a Divine 
Redeemer. Their religion now;— whatever it may have 
been before — was a living reality. They carried their 
lives in their hands, and neither gibbett, scaffold, stake 
or sword caused them to swerve from their duty; and 
when the test came, they gave up their lives in attes- 
tation of the truth of their religion — its Divinity ! 
May God nerve us all afresh for the service of the 
Church, and the maintenance of " The truth as it is 
in Jesus." 

With an abiding faith in His divinity, we will " go 
forward " from conquering unto conquest, contend- 
ing manfully for "The faith once delivered to the 
saints," bearing ever in mind that, " By this sign we 
conquer" — i. e., His Divinity, and when the warfare is 
over, find our resting place in heaven! 

The intelligent Christian reader will discover that 
the whole scope of our argument is based upon the 
teachings of God's Word. And why? We answer, 
heeause it is the only reliable source of enlightenment 
upon the important subject, and also because it bears 
the Divine impress. 

We claim for it that it is genuine, authentic, and in- 
spired, and therefore from God. It is above and be- 
yond the light of nature, above and beyond the un- 
7 



126 North Carolina Sermons. 

aided conception of human reason, and a special reve- 
lation of God's will and truth to man; and that it 
contains the only system of true religion, and all that 
is identical with the salvation of the soul. Farther- 
more, we claim that it is the result of Divine infalli- 
bility, the operation, superintendance and guidance of 
the Holy Ghost on the minds of those authors who 
have so faithfully contended for the Divinity of Christ, 
they acting as amanuenses of that blessed Spirit, hav- 
ing for its object those ulterior purposes, of which the 
'subject constitutes one of the most important, and also 
to provide for the possible contingency of substitution, 
in its place, of vain conceits, of groundless theories, of 
irrelevant hypotheses, or other wild and worthless con- 
ceits of proud humanity. 

It lias been preserved and guarded by a Providence 
unknown of any other book, and though its parts were 
composed by so many writers, at different times and 
places, yet now it stands before the world as one of 
great unity, to which no man may add, or from which 
no man may take away, without subjection to eternal 
pains or penalties. 

It is true that opposers have been found, such as the 
Pagan Selsus in the second century, the heretic 
Porphry, of the third, and the apostate Julian of the 
fourth, and so of each succeeding age down to even 
our time. But what of it? It stands firm and fast, 
out on the "ocean of time," like a solid rock, and sure 
enough, " the gates of hell have not prevailed against 
it." 

With gratitude and thankfulness to God the "Father," 
and abiding faith in his dear "Son," and strong reli- 
ance on the " Holy Ghost," we invoke His blessing 
upon this humble but earnest effort, to vindicate Plis 
truth, and add our humble testimony to its Divinity. 
Amen. 



The Syrophenician Woman. 127 



THE SYROPHENICIAN WOMAN. 

By Rev. Moses J. Hunt, 
Of the North Carolina Conference. 



Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord help 
me. — St. Math, xv : 25. 

When Christ was upon earth He went about doing 
good. His mission was one of love, mercy and com- 
passion. " He came not to call the righteous, but sin- 
ners to repentance." He sought not the praise of 
men ; but to do the will of His father, who sent Him. 
When acts of tuercy were bestowed upon the afflicted, 
he often charged them, " See thou tell no man." 

While He showed a desire to suppress notoriety, yet 
" great multitudes followed Him wherever He went," 
bringing the sick, maimed, halt and blind, that He 
might heal them. By the many miracles that He did, 
in feeding thousands with a few loaves and fishes, cast- 
ing out devils and raising the dead to life again, He 
convinced the gainsayers, proving that He was Di- 
vine. 

"And when they would have taken Him by force, 
to make Him King, He returned to a mountain alone." 
The result was, "His fame spread abroad throughout 
the land." 

We have in the context a beautiful narrative of the 
woman of Canaan (or Syrophenician woman, as she 
was called) who had, no doubt, heard of the power of 
Jesus to heal all manner of diseases; hence, she came 
unto Him, saying, " Have mercy on me, O Lord, 
thou son of David ; my daughter is grievously vexed 
with a devil." In her approaching Christ she had 
much to discourage her. Though she acknowledged 



128 North Carolina Sermons. 

that He was Lord, and the son of David, yet " He an- 
swered her not a word." The disciples besought Him, 
saying, " Send her away, for she crieth after us." His 
language to them, ' : I am not sent but unto the lost 
sheep of the house of Israel," might indicate that they 
desired Him to heal her daughter, that they might be 
troubled with her no longer. But it was against the 
poor woman. Then came she and worshipped Him, 
saying, "Lord help me." 

While I am not of Israel, but of Canaan, yet " my 
daughter is grievously vexed with a devil," Lord help 
vie. But he answered and said, " It is not meet to 
take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs." 
How discouraging was the above; all against her, yet 
how humble she was. And she said, "Truth, Lord, 
yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their 
master's table." The wonder is (with so much to dis- 
courage her) that this woman continued to urge her 
case. But she needed help, wanted help, and had ap- 
plied to One who she knew was able to help. Oh ! 
what joy must have thrilled her breast when Jesus 
answered and said unto her, " 0, woman, great is thy 
faith : be it unto thee even as thou wilt." And her 
daughter was made whole from that very hour." 

I wish to draw some conclusions from the above. 

1st. This mother knew the deplorable condition of 
her daughter ; that "she was grievously vexed with a 
devil." She had no doubt heard that Jesus had power 
to cast out devils, heal all manner of diseases, and 
raise the dead to life again. Her confidence in Him 
was unwavering. The only trouble with her was, will 
He hear me, will He grant my request and heal my 
daughter ? I will approach and cry unto Him, "Have 
mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David : my daugh- 
ter is grievously vexed with a devil." While the 
Master did not answer her a word, her love for her 
daughter was not diminished; her confidence wasun- 



The Syrophenician Woman. 129 

shaken ; the determination which she had formed to 
go to Christ was unwavering. "Then she came and 
worshipped Him, saying, Lord help 7ne." 

2nd. She was humble in her approach to Christ. 
This was shown when she was informed that " It is 
not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to 
dogs." "Truth, Lord ; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs 
which fall from the master's table." How confident, 
how determined, what humility did she display ! 

If I am a dog, and unworthy of a loaf, or a part of 
a loaf, " Lord help me," and grant me a crumb. 

If thou canst do anything, have compassion and 
help me. I make no terms. I come only as a woman 
of Canaan, pleading for my afflicted daughter: "Lord, 
help me." 

3rd. Her unwavering faith in Jesus. " And this is 
the victory which overcometh the world, even our 
faith." We are taught that " without faith it is im- 
possible to please God," and that " all things are pos- 
sible to him that believeth." 

In this woman several graces were blended in her 
approach to Christ: wisdom, humility, determination, 
patience, perseverance in prayer. But these may all 
have been the fruit of her strong faith. Then Jesus 
said : " woman, great is thy faith, be it unto thee, 
even as thou wilt ;" and her daughter was made whole 
from that very hour. 

It has been said, of all graces, faith honors Christ 
most; therefore, of all graces Christ honors faith 
most. While there was much in Christ's conduct to- 
ward this woman to discourage her, she could doubt- 
less say, like Paul, " None of these things move me." 
Again: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." 
She applied to the right One, came in proper spirit, 
obtained her request, and could return home to meet 
her daughter with joy. 

The application or some practical lessons from the 
above : 



130 North Carolina Sermons. 

Reader, hast thou any trouble in thy heart, on ac- 
count of sin ? Does thy heart condemn thee? If so, 
" God is greater than thy heart, and will also condemn 
thee." Hast thou the spirit of Christ to bear witness 
with thy spirit, that thou art a child of God? Paul 
says, " He that hath not the spirit of Christ is none of 
His." 

To all who are out of Christ, I would say, take 
courage from this woman, whose " daughter was vexed 
with a devil." She applied to Christ when the com- 
mission was only to "the lost sheep of the house of 
Israel," and by her determination, humility and faith, 
obtained her request. Now, the commission is to all 
the world We are taught, "Jesus Christ did, by the 
grace of God, taste death for every man." Christ says: 
" Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast 
out." " Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy 
laden, and I will give you rest." " Ask and it shall 
be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be 
opened unto you." Jesus says: "lam the bread of 
life." He is the true bread, that came down from 
heaven to give life to the world. But some may say, 
I have sought, but did not obtain pardon, hence there 
is no use in seeking longer; it seems that there is no 
mercy for me. Did not that woman cry, " O Lord, 
thou Son of David, have mercy on me"? Did she 
not worship, saying, " Lord, help me"? Was not the 
language sufficient to discourage her, when Christ 
said : " It is not meet to take the children's bread, and 
cast it to dogs"? These things did not discourage 
her. Why? Her daughter was vexed with a devil; 
she was in earnest in pleading for her ; she was hum- 
ble at the feet of Jesus, in asking for crumbs ; her confi- 
dence, faith and trust in Him brought the victory. If 
you, sinner, will come in thesamespirit, with like faith, 
supplication and humility, you may obtain pardon, 
life and salvation. Many seek pardon who fail to ob- 



Tested in Darkness. 131 

tain, because they fail to give up sin. They want to 
be saved in their sins, not from their sins. " If ye re- 
gard iniquity in your heart, God will not hear." I 
have witnessed the conversion of many souls. One 
thing I have observed : Those who consecrate them- 
selves to God, and resolve to serve Him, whether He 
blesses them or not, are sure to receive peace and par- 
don. This is the will of God, that "ye do His com- 
mandments." 



TESTED IN DARKNESS—REWARDED IN 
LIGHT. 

By Rev. J. Pressley Barrett, 
Editor of the Christian Sun, Raleigh, N. C. 



Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads: we went 
through Are and through water; but thou hast brought us 
out into a wealthy place. — Psalm lxvi: 12. 

The sting of oppression is the call for resistance. 
The oppressor's lash is merciless. The smarting, lac- 
erated, bleeding victim, urged on by a sense of the 
wrong he suffers, throws himself into the tide of re- 
sentment, without a moment's thought of the hard- 
ships the conflict for liberty must necessarily impose, 
ere victory is gained. Under these hardships the 
glory of coming freedom fades, hopes of success grow 
darK, and the thought of independence loses its charm. 
In this moment of peril, of suffering and darkness, 
the soldier wishes he had borne the oppression of his 
enemies, as he realizes the pain and privation of the 
struggle. He would return, but he has no choice, 
those in authority will not permit it. He must fight, 
even to death. He feels that the rigid discipline to 
which he is subject, is more painful and hampering 



132 North Carolina Sermons. 

to his freedom than was the original oppression. 
Heartless and half dissatisfied the conflict is a positive 
burden. At length, there is a halt. The struggle is 
ended, the victory is won, oppression is gone, and free- 
dom is achieved. The soldier as he takes a retrospect 
of the scenes through which he has passed, looks upon 
the severe discipline of the conflict, and then upon 
the liberty gained, and in the triumph, the pain and 
suffering endured on the way, has disappeared, while 
he declares the glories of victory are more than com- 
pensation for it all. 

In 1775 British oppression drove the colonies of 
America to arms. With great enthusiasm they en- 
tered the conflict for independence. Later they wept 
because of the privation and sufferings incident to 
war. They could not retire. Rigid discipline held 
them at their posts. At length, victory came to their 
relief — then they saw the blessings which had grown 
out of their hardships and fidelity. Their testimony 
was a unit — the severe discipline of the struggle had 
contributed largely to the success gained. They had 
been tested in darkness, and were now rewarded in 
light. As the eye looking through the microscope 
has its vision increased till it beholds wonders which 
before seemed to have no existence, so from the heights 
of victory the armies of the colonies looked through 
the vista of that fearful campaign to behold peace and 
comfort, and wealth and liberty, dawning upon their 
country as the rich and imperishable legacy they had 
won. 

A similar state of affairs existed among the Israel- 
ites during the time of that memorable struggle for 
freedom from Egyptian oppression. This called forth 
the words of the text. 

As a down-trodden people they keenly felt the bur- 
dens and disgrace of their bondage. Moses proposed 
relief for them. He was to lead them to " the Land 



Tested in Darkness. 133 

* 

of Promise." They started upon that long and peril- 
ous journey, their hearts beating with hope and en- 
thusiasm. The sky was clear, the sun was bright, and 
they bounded along with elastic step, hastening to a 
free land. They had dreamed only of liberty and 
happiness. No thought of discouragements, of ob- 
stacles, of persecutions, of bloody battles, of fiery ser- 
pents, of hunger and thirst, and an interminable wil- 
derness journey, had filled their bosoms with aching 
hearts. But the picture changes. They are con- 
fronted by the Red Sea, while the rattle of Pharoah's 
chariot wheels are heard in the rear, pursuing them. 
The fiery serpents, with death in their sting, lurk 
about their pathway beneath the green foliage of the 
wild woods. The countries bordering on the path of 
their journey were filled with nations hostile to them. 
The land was barren, and the springs were dry. 
Through all these, God led them successfully. By day 
he showed them the pillar of cloud, and by night, the 
pillar of fire. This was all discipline. Every trial 
became to them a lesson in which God taught them to 
look away from self, away from man, to Him as their 
only source of help. This is the object in view in 
all God's discipline. In every sorrow, in every mis- 
fortune, in every pain, in every disappointment, in 
every privation, God speaks to His people of the 
weakness of human help and the all-sufficiency of 
Divine help. Thus it is said, "All things work to- 
gether for good to them that love God." It was so 
with the Israelites. True, they complained bitterly 
while enduring these hardship, but they admitted 
afterwards that these did work together for their good. 
In the words of the text, after their deliverance, they 
said, "Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads: 
we went through fire and through water : but thou 
hast brought us out into a wealthy place." Such was 
the testimony, not of spectators, not of theorists, not 
of historians, but of men who had had personal deal- 



134 North Carolina Sermons. 

ings with God under the most remarkable and trying 
circumstances in all the annals of sacred or profane 
history. The discipline which God uses in bringing 
man to Him is a necessity. Man mast be drawn from 
his own hard-headed disposition to God's way. This 
often requires strange and unexpected means. This 
was true of the Israelites. They so loved Egypt that 
before they could be weaned, their affections broken, 
and they made ready to journey toward Canaan, God 
must permit the Egyptian task-masters to ride over 
them, even as men. ride over horses, driving them 
through the fires of the royal brick kilns; He must 
permit Pharaoah, after they have started, to pursue 
them, lest they should return, so strong was -their love 
for Egypt. Trouble under the. guidance of God's 
hand was the means of their salvation. So unaccus- 
tomed to God's ways, they followed Him only when 
their troubles were so great that none but God's hand 
could give them relief. Thus he led them by mirac- 
ulous power through the Red Sea, among the fiery 
serpents, over a barren land, into the hands of hostile 
nations, till they became from necessity weaned from 
Egypt and were bound to God by an abiding sense of 
their entire dependence upon him for safety. 

The Israelites in Egypt, as a nation, were useless to 
God, being bound to the world, but the Israelites in 
Palestine have become the glory of the Lord. Yet it 
cost bondage, oppression, privation and pain to wean 
them from Egypt, and persuade them to go to Pales- 
tine. So it is with man. A man in sin is useless to 
God, but a. man in Christ is the glory of the Lord. 
Man is so wedded to his sins that much is required to 
wean him from them and win him to Christ. Nothing 
short of the discipline of God's providences under the 
power of the Holy Ghost can do this. We were all 
sinners — lost sinners. If saved, we must be saved 
from our sins. To break the strong links which bind 



Tested in Darkness. 135 

us to them, God must use various means and methods. 
With one He breaks the chain of the world's influ- 
ence by poverty; another by sorrow; another by dis- 
ease ; another by persecution ; another by heavy bur- 
dens, and so on, through a long list of agencies, God 
works upon the hearts of men and women to wean 
them from the world and win them to heaven. So 
the testimony of the Israelites, in the text, is the tes- 
timony of millions of blood-washed souls. God, 
though he lead in darkness, yet he brings His people 
out into a healthy — wealthy place. Though we be 
tested in darkness, yet shall the faithful be rewarded 
in the light. 

All this is in keeping with a well known historical 
fact, viz: The darkest days in the world's history 
have been most productive of blessings to the human 
family. No valuable invention, no great benefaction, 
no strong-armed reformation was ever cradled in ease 
and luxury. Inventions have been rocked in poverty, 
benefactions have been planned in suffering and re- 
formations have been born and fostered in some an- 
guish-riven heart. 

It was a dark day for Job when Satan obtained per- 
mission to tempt him, but out of it came the richest 
experience and the grandest personal triumph over 
temptation the world has ever seen. Hear him, after 
his (children are dead, his property gone, his health 
wrecked, and, as the climax of it all, his wife per- 
suading him to curse God and die — hear him, as un- 
der this trying ordeal he rises above it all and de- 
clares that '' though he slay me, yet will I trust him." 

It was the spiritual darkness of Europe that aroused 
Martin Luther and nerved him to enlist in the work 
of the Reformation. Under the blessings of God the 
work of Luther has flooded all Christendom with the 
light of God's word, beside which the councils of men 
are as darkness itself. Europe's dark night of sin. was 
followed by the bright day of gospel light. 



136 North Carolina Sermons. 

The stoning of Stephen was one of the darkest periods 
in the history of the early Church. The disciples were 
few and timid, but the persecution which followed his 
death nerved them to do and dare more than ever be- 
fore. As a result, the Church grew and multiplied — 
the gospel spread with surprising rapidity. Mean- 
while men glorified God and rejoiced in their salva- 
tion. It is the water from the black storm-cloud that 
refreshes and quickens into new life the dying flowers. 
It was the influence of this persecution that quickened 
into new life and activity the waning interests of the 
followers of the risen Saviour. 

So Israel's forty years in the wilderness were forty 
years of darkness. In it God developed a nation, a 
peculiar people for himself, to whom he gave a re- 
ligion, the like of which, in its social, consoling and 
spiritual features the world has never seen ; and to add 
to its crowning glory, out of this nation and religion 
came a Saviour, who is now the light of the world and 
the hope of the nations of the earth. 

There was a day when darkness covered the land 
for three hours. It signalled the saddest yet the great- 
est event in the history of the world. Jesus was " dy- 
ing for the sins of the world." Darkness, as if to hide 
the terrible tragedy, covered the land ; the sun hid 
its face, the earth quaked, the rocks rent, the graves 
opened and many of the saints arose. How terrible 
was the agony ! How awful and grand the scene! In 
the midst of it all Jesus exclaimed, " It is finished/" 
Exultant shout, finished — tremendous word, wonder- 
ful thought— the salvation of a lost world is complete. 
The angel band gathers about the cross, and as Jesus 
rises from Olivet triumphant over Sin and Death, they 
escort him heavenward, and as they come nearer and 
yet nearer the City of God, they strike their harps of 
gold and join in the victor's song. Hear them : 



Taking the Right Hand — Lifting Up. 137 



" Lift up your heads, O, ye gates: 
And be ye lifted up ye everlasting doors: 
And the king of glory shall come in." 

The angel watchers at the heavenly gate hear this 
song of victor}', and gathering upon the battlements 
of that great city, and with angels' song they ask of 
the singing host : 

" Who is this King of glory ?" 

And the songsters answer: 

" The Lord strong and mighty, 
The Lord mighty in battle." 

Though in shame and ignominy he bore his cross 
alone, the ascending Lord, amid legions of angels, was 
crowned in triumph the Saviour of men — from dark- 
ness into light, from the cross to the crown. May we 
be content to follow in his footsteps, going from suffer- 
ing to blessing, from death to life, and from darkness 
into light. Then with the Psalmist we may bear wil- 
ling testimony, as in the text : " Thou hast caused men 
to ride over our heads; we went through fire and 
through water ; but thou hast brought us out into 
a wealthy place" — Heaven. 



TAKING THE RIGHT HAND— LIFTING UP. 

By Rev. Stokes D. Franklin, 

Of the North Carolina Local Ministers' Conference. 



And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up. — 
Acts hi :7. 

Peter and John were going up to the temple to at- 
tend the 9 o'clock prayer meeting. Just as they reached 
the beautiful gate their attention was attracted by a 
poor lame man, who seeing Peter and John about to 



138 North Carolina Sermons. 

enter asked of them alms. And Peter, fastening his 
eyes upon him with John, said, " Look on us." Then 
Peter said : " Silver and gold have I none, but such as 
I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of 
Nazareth rise up and walk." "And he took him by the 
right hand and lifted him up." Peter has set an ex- 
ample in this case that is worthy to be had in everlast- 
ing remembrance. Peter was not satisfied by preach- 
ing to this poor unfortunate man in the name of 
Jesus, but his sympathy and love was so great for him 
that he walked right up to him and took him by the 
hand and lifted him up. In order to bring this beau- 
tiful lesson into immediate use, we must consider: 

I. What kind of a hand should Christians extend f 

II. How far does our duty extend in this direction ? 

III. As Christians, who shall ive take by the hand ? 

I. What Kind of a Hand Should Cbrtstians 
Extend ? 

1. We should extend the hand of honesty. Nathan 
looked King David in the face and said, "Thou art the 
man." The apostle said, " Except ye repent you shall 
perish." Our Saviour and his apostles and the early 
church were plain and honest. This great subject, 
upon which the destiny of immortal souls depends, re- 
quires that Christians should be honest. The preacher 
should be honest with his congregation. Parents 
should be honest with their children. Friend should 
be honest with friend. A word on this subject fitly 
spoken is like " apples of gold in pictures of silver." 

2. We should extend the hand of love. Our heavenly 
Father so loved the world that he gave his only be- 
gotten Son that we might be saved. The one that has 
had the love of God shed abroad in his own heart, 
that heart is bound to yearn for others. The heart 
that has been illumined by the grace of God will let 
its light so shine that others may see. He will not 
conceal this light from his fellow men. 



Taking the Right Hand — Lifting Up. 139 

3. We should extend the hand of sympathy. There is a 
time in the Christian life when sympathy is required 
to remove the burden that rests upon the soul. Our 
Saviour had his Gethsemane ; his soul was sorrowful, 
and he begs his disciples to watch with him. Hear 
his sad cry, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken 
me?" We have thousands of Christian men and wo- 
men that are dying for the want of sympathy and en- 
couragement. They need some one to open the soul 
windows, and let the light in. They need a sympa- 
thetic heart to which they can confidently go and un- 
bosom themselves. Urother, sister, you may not al- 
ways find this human sympathy that you so much 
need, but do not forget that Christ says, "Come unto 
me." He has promised never to leave or forsake. 



II. How Far Does Our Duty Extend in this 
Direction ? 

1. In religion, geographical lines are obliterated. Christ 
broke down the middle wall or partition between Jew 
and Gentile, and commanded all men everywhere to 
repent. If dispensation of the Gospel has been com- 
mitted to the Christian Church and the command is, 
"Go and preach the Gospel to every creature," every 
tribe and nation that lives upon the earth has a claim 
upon the Christian Church, and the command of God 
is go, and the promise is, " Lo, I am with you." 

2. Society lines are extinct. The queen of the South 
came a great distance to see and acquaint herself with 
religious government, and as the beauties and gran- 
deurs of that system were unfolded to her by Solomon 
she exclaimed, the half had not been told. Our Sa- 
viour dines with Zaccheus the publican, and he be- 
comes so deeply impressed with the teachings of Christ 
that he offers at once to make restitution and give half 
his wealth to the poor. Peter, though at the time a 
biggot, yet when convinced, as he was, in the case of 



140 North Carolina Sermons. 

Cornelius, he could exclaim with all his heart, " Of a 
truth, I perceive that God is no respecter of persons." 
But in every nation he that feareth him and worketh 
righteousness is accepted with him. 

3. Intellectual lines are lost. 

It is " not by might nor by power, but by my spirit, 
saith the Lord." " For ye see your calling brethren, 
how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many 
mighty, not many noble are called, but God has chosen 
the foolish things of the world to confound the things 
which are mighty." That no flesh should glory in his 
presence Dear brethren, it was the simplicity of the 
gospel that made it so offensive to the Jews, and the 
same spirit exists in thousands of hearts at the present 
day. Men and women in this age of pride and fash- 
ion do not like to wear the garments of humility. 
But we should never lose sight of the fact that Christ 
humbled himself for us that we might be saved. 

III. As Christians, who Shall we Take by the 

Kand? 

1. Sinners of all classes. Our Saviour said to Nico- 
demus, " ye must be born again." Saint Paul said it 
was a faithful saying that Christ Jesus came into the 
world to save sinners. One of the principle accusa- 
tions brought against the Saviour was that he mingled 
with sinners. The great object of Christ's mission in 
the world was to save sinners, and that should be the 
burden of every sermon, every prayer, and every song, 
until this world has been conquered for Christ, and 
his kingdom established in every heart. A christian 
man was walking through one of the public squares 
of a great city; he saw a poor dissipated young man 
lounging on a seat; he was the picture of ruin; he 
was debauched by rum and scarred by sin, and to all 
human appearances a fit subject to be shunned by 
cold-hearted respectability. But good Joel Stratteu 



Taking the Right Hand — Lifting Up. 141 

walked right up to him, spoke kindly to him, the 
words touched his heart, he heard and saw as he never 
heard and saw before. The good man took the youth 
by the hand and lifted him up, carried him to the 
temperance meeting, and when the pledge was pre- 
sented he signed with a tremulous hand the name 
of John B. Gough, who afterwards became the greatest 
reformer this land has ever produced. Thousands of 
noble young men who are being hurried to an un- 
timely grave and a fearful beyond, can be rescued 
and saved if Christians who have been saved them- 
selves will take them by the right hand and lift them 
up. 

2. We should take our doubting and weaker brethren by 
the hand. " You that are strong ought to bear the in- 
firmities of the weak." Thomas doubted, and when 
our Saviour met him for the first time after the resur- 
rection he simply required him to apply his own test 
for satisfaction, and then exhorted him to be not faith- 
less, but believing. This was enough for Thomas. 
He was more than satisfied when he exclaimed " my 
Lord and my God." We have thousands of doubting 
Christians, men and women, just like Thomas. They 
need help. Let that strong Christian brother or sis- 
ter, who has reached a higher plane, reach down and 
with a strong Christian grasp take the weak brother 
by the hand and lift him up to a place of safety. 

3. We should take the tempted and tried by the hand. 
Piety does not exempt from temptation. Our blessed 
Lord had to pass through the ordeal of temptation. 
Peter was tempted, and for a time yielded, but a single 
look from our dying Lord caused him to weep bitter 
tears of repentance. Paul was tried by a thorn in the 
flesh. He wisely carried his trouble to the Lord, and 
while it did not please him to remove it, yet he gave 
him grace to sustain him under this trial. Christians 
can be of great service to each other along life's jour- 



142 North Carolina Sermons. 

ney. Give the tempted and tried the benefit of your 
council, your prayers, your sympathy, your tears; 
when they stumble, be near them, and when they fall 
take them by the right hand and lift them up, and 
let your song be 

" Courage, brother, do not stumble, 
Though thy path be dark as night, 
There's a star to guide the humble; 
Trust in God and do the right." 



SOUL-WINNING. 

By Rev. James T. Kendall, 
Of the North Carolina Conference. 



He that winneth souls is wise. — Proverbs xi: 30. 

Our text directs us to the human soul — the last 
but greatest work of God's creative power and good- 
ness. When the earth, with its countless animated 
creatures, the heavens, with its splendid beauty, and 
the sea with its myriad of moving, living animals, 
had been formed, then Deity, as the climax of his 
omnific manifestations, stepped forth and said, " Let 
us make man," and it is recorded by the inspired pen- 
man, " that in His own likeness and after His own 
image created he him." 

The soul's exalted similitude to God's holy image is 
its highest honor, and this invests ic with a glory and 
worth which vastly transcends all terrestrial things. 
But alas ! the soul can only now be contemplated 
amid its eclipsed glory and moral ruin. By sin it 
apostasized and became a wreck. The crown has fal- 
len from its head ; Ichabod is written upon it, the 
glory is departed. To restore the soul to dignity, 
holiness and heaven, is the great design of the plan 



Soul-Winning. 143 

of redemption ; God in the infinity of his grace and 
love has become the help and hope of the ruined 
apostate, and has set up a plan of reconciliation 
whence holiness, justice and truth may harmonize 
with clemency, mercy and love in its salvation. The 
great remedy is revealed to us in the gospel — the way 
of recovery is there clearly and vividly pointed out, 
and the Supreme Divinity has established in His 
church the christian ministr}' in connection with the 
pious influence of His people for the conversion of 
sinners to Himself. We propose to consider 

I. The means to be adopted to win souls. 

II. On whom the responsibility devolves. 

III. The vrisdom of discliarging the responsibility. 

I. The Means to be Adopted to win Souls. Now 
if we consider some of the circumstances in which the 
soul is placed, and the influence which may be ex- 
erted upon it, we shall then see what shall be done 
to win souls. 

1. The soul is in darkness, and must be won by the com- 
munication of knoivledge. Man in his revolted condi- 
tion is in the kingdom of darkness. He is blind, deaf, 
dumb, and under the power of the destroyer. This 
darkness is its blight and ruin. To win it we must 
enlighten; the light of truth must arise upon it; the 
scales must be taken from the eyes, and the guilty cul- 
prit exclaim, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" 

2. The sold is in moral thralldom and the message of de- 
liverance must be proclaimed. The gospel is a message 
of liberty ; it calls to liberty ; it proclaims freedom to 
those which are bound. The gospel dispensation is 
the year of jubilee; the year of release, and offers am- 
nesty to the captive. 

3. The soul is under the power of evil, and Christian in- 
fluence must be employed to dispossess it. 



144 North Carolina Sermons. 

Hence, it must be reproved, warned — expostulated 
with — allured. Pi ety has a fourfold influence for good. 

(1) The influence of integrity — an upright con- 
duct, unblamable demeanor, purity of conversation, 
this will do much, while the opposite, a want of these, 
will tend to dampen the zeal and chill the ardor of 
those who " would see Jesus." 

(2) The influence of goodness — the Saviour's heart 
and mind, loveennobling, reigning. A truly pious saint 
will show forth the Spirit of Christ, seek His glory and 
be his witness, and the world can see and will see the 
lovable disposition, which is an index to that joy which 
" passethall understanding." It is difficult to resist this. 

(3) The influence of cheerfulness — an evident exhibi- 
bition of the bright and radiant influence of true re- 
ligion on the soul. Melancholy cannot attract. It is 
the cloud that shuts out the sunshine, but holy joy is 
the verdant scene. Yes, every Christian is cheerful. 
You can see it in his face, read it in his life, and be- 
hold it in his conversation. 

(4) The influence of kind pursuasion — "come with 
us and we will do thee good." You hear him speak to 
the wandering prodigal. In fact, his highest ambi- 
tion is to be instrumental in rescuing " Some poor 
sinking seaman " from the vortex to which he is tend- 
ing. But the soul is incapable of self-restoration, 
therefore we must pray for the Holy Ghost to render 
all other means efficient. Men may hear and under- 
stand the Gospel, be greatly influenced by Christian 
example, but the soul must be renervated and regen- 
erated by the Spirit of God. He, and He alone, can 
take away the heart of stone. He only can remove 
the veil that shuts off the light from the prison where he 
dwells. Thus Paul exclaims, "Brethren my heart's 
desire and prayer to God is, that Israel may be saved." 
"The effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous avail- 
eth much." Then let us, if we would be soul winners, 



Soul-Winning. 145 

pray — pray humbly, importunately, with faith. Pray 
always. " Pray without ceasing." 
Now let us consider: 

II. On Whom Does the Work of Winning Souls 
Devolve ? 

It devolves pre-eminently on the Christian minis- 
try. It is their duty to go forth as recruiting officers 
for the " King of glory." But it also devolves upon all 
Christians — on parents, Sunday School workers — on 
all. No true disciple of the Lord Jesus will be a drone 
in the vineyard, but will cheerfully, faithfully, and 
fearlessly labor to evangelize the world. A lazy Chris- 
tian is a misnomer, for indolence is one of the antag- 
onistics of the Christian religion. Then all must 
work. Go then, my brother, into the battle — go in the 
strength of your Master. Go " let your light shine," 
and aid in dispelling the cloud that re4 upon your 
unsaved fellow creatures. Ye hoary haired veterans, 
take your swords from their scabbards, sharpen them 
with prayer, and help slay the "Philistines." Ye 
Christian lads and lasses, button on the " breast-plate 
of righteousness," and ma}' the Lord help you to be 
heroes and heroines, indeed — 

" Soldiers of Christ arise, • 

And put your armor on, 
Strong in the strength which God supplies, 
Through his eternal Son." 

*********** 

"From strength to strength go on, 
Wrestle and fight and pray, 
Tread all the powers of darkness down, 
And win the well-fought day." 
Observe : 

III. The Wisdom of Faithfully Discharging the 
Responsibility. 

This wisdom will appear, if we will consider : 

1. The value of tliat which is won. Who can describe 



146 North Carolina Sermons. 

the worth? A city, a kingdom, a world is as nothing 
in the scale. He who never erred has propounded this 
mighty interrogation : " What shall it profit a man if 
he gain the whole world and lose his own soul, or what 
shall a man give in exchange for his soul"? There- 
fore to win souls is the highest wisdom — the most no- 
ble of all attainments. The wisdom will be seen when 
we consider : 

2. The dignity of those with whom we co-operate. We 
move in the same train, and labor with patriarchs, 
prophets and apostles. They lived, sung, toiled and 
died to win souls. We are fellow co-workers with the 
angels, for their history is connected with that of re- 
demption. We are acting in unison with the 1 blessed 
Deity. God was not so great and glorious in creating 
the world as in redeeming it: His Son in all the mys- 
tery of the incarnation, the depth of His humiliation, 
the intensity of His sorrow, the agony of his death, 
had but one end — and that end was to win souls. The 
wisdom will appear lastly, when we consider: 

3. The bliss of the soul hereafter. Follow the spirit 
into the region of blissful immortality, contemplate its 
dignity, joy and glory as beatified, entered on a state 
of boundless felicity. " In thy presence is fullness of 
joy, and at thy right hand there are pleasures forever 
more." Good Lord, make us soul-winners. 



The Divine Purpose. 147 



THE DIVINE PURPOSE IN THE PLAN OF 
SALVATION. 

By Rev. James Maple, D. D., 
Pastor of the Christian Church, Raleigh, N. C. 



For whom he did foreknow, he also did pedestinate to be 
conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first 
born among many brethren. — Romans viii: 29. 

Man was created in the image of God. " So God 
created man in his own image, in the image of God 
created he him ; male and female created he them." 
This image consisted in his moral powers and suscep- 
tibilities, and the pure righteous state of his whole 
nature. Man lost this image and the exalted state it 
secured, by sin, and he became fearfully corrupt; so 
much so that the prophet says, " The heart is deceit- 
ful above all things, and desperately wicked: who 
can know it?" This sinfulness brought wretchedness 
and ruin to man. It opened the flood-gates of misery. 
This moved the compassion of God, and he provided 
a Saviour for man. " For we have seen and do testify 
that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the 
world." The purpose of God in the plan of salvation 
is the redemption of man from the guilt and power of 
sin, and his conformity to the image of his son." 

I. God lead a plan and a purpose in sending his son into 
the world. The plan was the scheme of salvation 
through Christ, and the purpose man's redemption 
from sin and his transformation into the moral image 
of Christ. This is the great central thought in the 
whole system of redemption, and is clearly stated in 
the Scriptures. " For God so loved the world that he 
gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth 



148 North Carolina Sermons. 

in him should not perish but have everlasting life." 
" This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all accepta- 
tion, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save 
sinners." This salvation is from sin, for God did not 
purpose to save men whatever their character ma}' be. 
He does not save men Jn their sins, but from their sins. 
This salvation does not refer to deliverance from outer 
evils, and the enjoyment of eternal privileges; but to 
conformity to the image of Christ in spirit, principle, 
and life. It is real conversion. There is where many 
make a fatal mistake. They look only at the outer 
evils of sin, and think all that is needed is a deliver- 
ance from them. They only dread an outer hell. 
True sin brings outer evils fearful and terrible in their 
nature. How dreadful the outer evils that intemper- 
ance brings upon man in poverty, social degradation 
and miser}- ; but the greatest injury that it does is to 
the soul of man in its alienation from God, and its 
terrible effects on the mind. It sears the conscience, 
congeals the sympathies into ice, extinguishes the 
lamp of reason, and brutalizes the whole man. It 
.converts him into a demon, and makes him an ele- 
ment of misery in society. Christ saves man from 
the power of sin over his soul, and this delivers him 
from the outer evils of sin so far as he can be saved 
from them. The covetous man needs to he redeemed 
from the power of this degrading passion over his 
own soul, and this will save him from the outer evils 
it brings. It is absurd to talk of saving men in their 
sins, for there can be no such thing. The end to be 
accomplished by the mission of Christ is man's deliv- 
erance from the dominion of sin over his mind and 
heart, and his conformity to the divine image. This 
is the highest blessing that can be conferred upon 
man, for this alone can bring supreme happiness. 
Anger, when it gains dominion over a man, renders 
him unhappy, and makes him a curse to the society 
in which he lives. The only salvation that can be of 



The Divine Pukpose. 149 

any benefit to such a man is a deliverance from this 
evil passion, and the filling his heart with the gentle, 
loving spirit of Christ. This will make him a new 
man, lift him into a new world of thought, life, and 
enjoyment, and save him from the outer evils anger 
brought upon him. 

God is God, and man is man ; and man's nature 
and the conditions of his peace and welfare are as fixed 
as God's, by the will of God. When we say man, we 
mean a free, moral, and responsible creature ; and 
when we say a man is saved we mean only as a man 
can be saved — that is, saved by the salvation of his 
manhood ; saved in the exercise of his freedom, in the 
use of his conscience, in the rectifying of his heart, 
in the uplifting of his soul. Man cannot be saved 
mechanically. What is it to save the inebriate? It 
is to redeem him from his appetite lor rum, and lead 
him into a sober life. This is his only salvation, and 
how is it brought about? Can you free him as you 
would take the chains from the limbs of a prisoner, 
and thus set him at libeity ? Certainly not. This 
salvation can only come through enlightening his 
mind, quickening his conscience, and inducing him 
to exert his will power. There is no other method of 
salvation for him, and this saves the man by saving 
his manhood. 

In man's salvation from sin there must be a free 
exercise of his own will, and he must co operate with 
Christ in this work. " Work out your own salvation 
with fear and trembling: for it is God which worketh 
in you both to will and to do of his own good pleas- 
ure." It is his purpose that we should " be conformed 
to the image of his son," but he has not pledged to 
make us thus holy and happy whether we will or not, 
and by instrumentalities outside of the exertion of 
our own powers. A man cannot be saved from sin 
without his own co-operation, for the reason that this 

8 



150 North Carolina Sermons. 

is an inner spiritual work. A man can be saved from 
an outer evil without his own co-operation, as you 
may rescue him from the river when he is drowning, 
but he cannot be redeemed from sin in this way. Can 
you save a man from intemperance by outer means, 
and independent of his own will? Must he not co- 
operate in the work of his salvation ? You may lock 
him up in a prison, and thus cut him off from the 
means of intoxication ; but this is not salvation to 
him. The appetite remains, and dominates his soul. 
He must be willing to be saved, and work for it. This 
is beautifully illustrated in the experience of Dr. 
Horace Bushnell, who, in his college days, was almost 
an infidel. He doubted nearly every religious propo- 
sition that had been brought to his attention. A pow- 
erful revival was sweeping through the college, and 
he was compelled to think on the subject of religion. 
One evening, pacing up and down his room, in the 
desolation of his skepticism, he said to himself: 
" There is one thing I have always believed. I have 
never doubted that there is a distinction between right 
and wrong." Conscience has a direct intuition of the 
difference between motives. Certain motives con- 
science does intuitively perceive to be right, and others 
it intuitively perceives to be wrong. Bushnell be- 
thought himself of his duty in a practical way. He 
asked himself: "Have I yielded to this truth which I 
admit, that there is a difference between right and 
wrong? Have I ever thrown myself over the line 
betw r een right and wrong, toward the side of right, 
with full purpose and will to do only the right?" 
There he knelt in his solitude on this one reef of axio- 
matic truth. He gave himself up to the promptings 
of conscience and yielded utterly, gladly, affection- 
ately to all the light that he then had ; and there 
came to him the conviction that there is a personal 
God, that there is another life, and that God is ready 



The Divine Purpose. 151 

to hear all that call upon him in sincerity. From 
that hour he never doubted on these points. Salva- 
tion came to him through the decision of his own 
will, and this is the only way that it can come to any 
man. A man cannot be saved from sinful loves by 
the mere exercise of power, for the simple reason that 
it cannot touch the inner passions of the soul. Such 
salvation can only come through the change of his 
desires by moral and spiritual influences. 

II. Redemption from the slavery of sin, and transforma- 
tion into the image of Christ is the only salvation that can 
be of any advantage to man, either in this ivorld or the world 
to come. It is this alone that can deliver him from his 
alienation from God, and make him happy. Salvation 
from outer evils cannot do this. The prodigal became 
alienated from his father through his love of sinful 
pleasure, and he wandered away into a distant coun- 
try. This sinfulness involved him in fearful outer 
evils, and he was miserable, 'this father could and 
did save him from these evils ; but this alone could 
not save him from the condemnation of conscience, 
and make him happy in the society of his Father. The 
alienation of heart must be r, moved, and he must 
have the spirit of a son. This alone could bring peace 
and happiness in the relation that he sustained to his 
father. Thus it is in our relation to God. The con- 
sciousness that we have sinned against him destroys 
our communion with him, and makes us afraid of him. 
In this state of mind we could not live in peace with 
him. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against 
God ; for it is not subject to the law of God, 
neither indeed can be." This moral condition of 
man makes regeneration necessary to his happi- 
ness, and as God desires the well-being of his chil- 
dren, he has " predestinated," or " predetermined," 
that they must "be conformed to the image of his 
Son ;" that he must have his spirit of loving, child-like 



152 North Carolina Sermons. 

obedience. This was the great end he had in view in 
sending his Son into the world. "God sent forth his 
Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem 
them that are under the law, that we might receive 
the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God 
hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, 
crying, Abba, Father." This is the dividing line be- 
tween the christian and the man of the world. "Now 
if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of 
his." 

Transformation into the image of Christ is essential 
to usefulness as well as happiness, and the more Christ- 
like a man is the greater his power for good. The 
gentle, tender, loving, sympathizing, and long suffer- 
ing spirit of Christ is the great redeeming power of the 
world; and it was this spirit that made Paul, Peter, 
John, and all the great reformers of the world the 
power that they were for good in the world. The 
spirit of Christ in the heart makes a man a blessing in 
society. This presence is like sunshine. It warms the 
noblest affections of the soul into life, and makes men 
better. Henry III. of France, enquired why it was 
that the Duke of Guise appeared to charm everybody. 
The answer was, "he endeavors to do good to all peo- 
ple without exception, directly by himself, or indi- 
rectly by his recommendation. He is civil, courteous, 
liberal, has always something good to say of every- 
body, and never speaks ill of any. This is the reason 
he reigns in men's hearts as absolutely as your majesty 
does in your kingdom." 

To help yourself realize the beauty and power of the 
spirit of Christ, just imagine what the world would be 
if all men and women were transformed into the image 
of Christ. Everything that is evil in spirit and action 
would be banished from the world, and love and good- 
ness would reign supreme in all hearts. Then would 
be realized the beautiful vision of the prophet: "The 



The Divine Purpose. 153 

wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard 
shall lie down with the kid ; and the calf and the 
young lion and the fatling together; and a little child 
shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; 
their young ones shall lie down together, and the lion 
shall eat straw like an ox, and the sucking child shall 
play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall 
put his hand on the cockatrice's den. They shall not 
hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the 
earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the 
waters cover the sea." 

Man is to realize his highest happiness and useful- 
ness here and in eternity through his conformity to 
the image of Christ. Such is his nature, and such are 
the moral laws of the universe, that it can only come 
to him in this way. It is not possible for him to set 
these laws aside, and secure this end in his own way. 
Would he realize the purest and sweetest happiness in 
his personal relation to God, he can only secure it by 
conformity to the image of Christ; and the more per- 
fect this conformity the richer his communion with 
God. Would he have the closest and most perfect fel- 
lowship with his fellowmen, that fellowship which 
brings peace and joy, he can only realize it through con- 
formity to the image of Christ. Would he come into 
the closest communion with nature, and enjoy its 
beauty, he can only realize this by conformity to the 
Son of God. Would he win the hearts of his fellow- 
men, and hold dominion there for their good, he can 
only gain this by conformity to the image of Christ, 
and the more perfect this transformation the stronger 
his hold on human hearts. Would he enter heaven 
and enjoy the society of "the general assembly and 
church of the first-born," he must be transformed into 
the image of Christ. Thus we see that this transfor- 
mation is essential to man's well being in all the rela- 
tions that he sustains to God and the universe of mat- 



154 North Carolina Sermons:. 

ter and mind, and this is the reason why it Was pre- 
determined in the counsels of infinite wisdom. 

III. In all the work of redemption God will have his Son 
honored. "For whom he did foreknow, he also did pre- 
destinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that 
he might be the first born among many brethren. " 
The first-born among the Hebrews had many peculiar 
privileges, and was the most highly honored in the 
family. Christ was the Son of God in a peculiar sense; 
yet he is also the "Son of man." He became our 
brother by taking upon himself our nature. Hence 
christians are called his "brethren." He still sustains 
this paternal relation to the family of God; yet it is 
the design of the Father that he should be clothed 
with peculiar honors, and be so regarded in his church, 
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and 
given him a name which is above every name." "He 
raised him from the dead, and set him at his own 
right hand in the heavenly places, far above all prin- 
cipality, and power, and might and dominion, and ev- 
ery name that is named, not only in this world, but 
also in that which is to come." He would have him 
honored as he is honored himself. "For the Father 
judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to 
the Son ; that all men should honor the Son, even 
as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the 
Son, honoreth not the Father that sent him." He is 
honored by all the hosts of heaven. They sing, "Sal- 
vation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and 
unto the Lamb," saying, "blessing and honor and glory 
and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, 
and unto the Lamb forever and ever." 

Remarks. 

1. It is glorious to know that God hath an eternal 
interest in our souls, an eternal desire and purpose to 



The Divine Purpose. 155 

have them conformed to the image of his Son. We are 
ignorant, weak and sinful; we live in a world of trial 
and affliction; we are surrounded by temptations on 
every hand, and left to ourselves must inevitably per- 
ish. What an inspiration to know that God is so 
deeply interested in us, and that he makes "all things 
work together for good to them that love him." "If 
God be for us, who can be against us?" He is might- 
ier than all. Well might David exclaim, "The Lord 
is on my side; I will not fear; what can man do unto 
me?" It is on this fact that Christ bases his promise 
of eternal life unto his disciples." I give unto them 
eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall 
any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, 
which gave them me, is greater than all, and no man 
is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." In 
this fact we can rest in peace. 

2. When we look at the unpromising materials from 
which God is seeking to make the likeness of Christ 
we are liable to tremble with doubts of his success. 
Human nature is hard, sinful, and stubborn. It is 
vicious, and at enmity with God. It looks, to human 
wisdom and power like a hopeless task to mould it 
into the moral image of Christ ; but some of the most 
rude and ungracious, the awkward and unpromising 
children, have been trained into accomplshed, gentle, 
and Christ-like men and women. The most remark- 
able thing about man is his improvableness, and the 
most depraved and reckless have been redeemed from 
the debasing slavery of sin, and moulded into the 
gentle, loving image of Christ. Millions who were 
once enslaved by the most brutal passions, and lived 
in all the savagery of carnal lust, have been saved by 
the redeeming power of Christ, cleansed from the im- 
purity of sin, moulded into the divine image of their 
Saviour, and are now the companions and equals of 
the angels in heaven. What an encouragement to all 



156 North Carolina Sermons. 

who are struggling to escape from the slavery of sin, 
and what an incentive to christians to work for the 
salvation of the fallen. This is the grandest of all 
work, for it is the most enduring, far reaching, and 
glorious in its results. Nothing brings so much hap- 
piness to man, and satisfaction to God, as this. 

3. How strange that men are contented to live in 
the image of the devil, and to grow more like him 
every day; yet this is the case. Men give themselves 
up to evil influences, allow any strong hand that dares 
to lay its forming finger upon them, and suffer them- 
selves to drift on to moral and eternal ruin. They 
are hardening, deforming themselves, and " treasuring 
up wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of 
the righteous judgment of God." How strange, yet 
how true. 

4. Our text opens a glorious future to the earnest, 
trusting child of God. It promises him an eternal 
union with and growth into the image of Christ. 
"We all with open face beholding as in a glass the 
glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image 
from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord." 
The chief glory of man is his capability of growth, 
and his grandest destiny to become like Christ. " Be- 
hold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed 
upon us, that we should be called the sons of God : 
therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew 
him not." The world may not know us, and it may 
sneer at our hopes ; but this will not change our des- 
tiny. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it 
doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know 
that when he shall appear we shall be like him; for 
we shall see him as he is." 



The Wisdom and Spirit of St. Stephen. 157 

CHRISTIANITY THE ONLY POWER THAT 
CAN WAKE THE MIND TO PARA- 
DISICAL VIGOR. 

By Rev. Levi Branson, D. D., 
Of the North Carolina Local Ministers' Conference. 



And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit 
by which he spake.— Acts vi: 10. 

The almost universal practice of preaching sermons 
at the commencements of literary institutions has had 
its due, or rather its undue, share of public and private 
criticism, and especially from that class of minds that 
would rob literature of its brightest ornaments — con- 
sign intellect to the position of a social treadmill — 
deny the Divinity which alone has preserved the 
thinking powers from utter annihiliation — and allow 
Christianity a field of operations only in the hearts of 
the weakest and most illiterate of the human race. 

Nor, has the custom of commencement sermons 
been less criticised than the sermons themselves. 

If the officiating clergyman strikes boldly into the 
regions of thought — combats the erroneous dictum of 
modern school men — attempts' to drive from the field 
of mind intellectual infidelity, and invites the student 
to a pure and paradisical elevation, ungrateful criti- 
cism pronounces heavily against the spirituality of the 
speaker, and denies him the possession of that vital 
principle, without which the grandest heights of 
thought could never be attained. 

On the other hand, should the reverend speaker, 
inspired with the divinity of his vocation and the love 
of souls, attempt to reach the depths of the emotional 
nature, and fire the heart with zeal for its highest fu- 
ture destiny, criticism is no better satisfied, and with 
equal ingratitude, pronounces heavily against the lit- 

*A Commencement Sermon. 



158 North Carolina Sermons. 

erary character of the sermon, and thinks the man a 
fool indeed that would advocate the holy wedlock of 
spirituality and literature. 

The invitation which brings the herald of the cross 
before you at your literary festivals, whilst it is a 
just, is nevertheless a beautiful tribute of science to 
Christianity ; and if it were possible that the word 
should produce no immediate result, and no wanderer 
in the labyrinths of sin be suddenly enabled to be- 
hold the beauties of the cross, still it were eminently 
worth the while as a public acknowledgement of the 
truth of Christianity, and as an earnest petition for 
her blessings upon the scientific world. 

It is not so much that Christianity needs to be hon- 
ored by the schools, as that the schools need the pro- 
tection, the encouragement and the direction of Chris- 
tianity, hence the subject of our discourse is found in 
the following proposition — Christianity is the only power 
that can wake the mind to paradisical vigor. 

The utter depravity of the human heart is scarcely 
denied by the most illiterate of the race; but many 
who are orthodox in this respect are glaring infidels 
in reference to the depravity of the mind, and it is in- 
deed a strange inconsistency that admits the one and 
denies the other. While the prophet's declaration 
that the " whole heart is faint," is received as truth 
that the "whole head is sick," is too great a concession. 
Then, lest we be wise above the scriptures, let us es- 
tablish first 

The depravity of mind. 

Considering the fact of man's original association 
with the Deity himself — his daily walks in the gar- 
den, and hence daily opportunity of storing his mind 
with all useful information — and remembering that 
he possessed the happ}' condition of a sound mind in 
a sound body, with continuing years unharrassed by 
thoughts of enfeebling age and certain dissolution, 



The Wisdom and Spirit of St, Stephen. 159 

one' may well suppose that mind in its paradisical 
sta>te was vigorous, comprehensive, correct and power- 
ful. 

All the flowers of earth, the fruits of the field, the 
scenery of the most beautiful landscapes at all neces- 
sary to the comfort and development of mind were 
surely found in one full happy combination in the gar- 
den. Man's dominion was the extent of the earth, 
and such his grasp of mind it seemed but a garden. 
The countless species of animals, birds, reptiles, fishes, 
insects, were comprehended, named, studied, known 
and recorded in the mind of Adam. 

Dictionaries were unknown and unnecessary to a 
man capable of explaining all — cyclopedias, Biblical 
Lexicons and commentaries, were as unnecessary to 
him as they are necessary to us. No forgetfulness crept 
into the mind, bringing its legitimate crop of regrets 
and remorses. Primaeval man, looking through a 
clear atmosphere, un infested with the miasma of 
swamps, or the smoke of the huge cities, saw, heard, 
and understood the Divine himself; and it was not 
until sin had marred the beautiful image, that Adam 
heard walking without \ erceiving, his maker — his 
friend and associate. 

One might well imagine that even now with all the 
surrounding influences of sin, that having exemption 
from disease, and an unlimited lease of life, a power 
of memory and a vigor of thought could be obtained 
utterly impossible and unknown to the inhabitants of 
earth. 

No student has had such a teacher as Adam, and 
none has had so fine a field for poetry and imagina- 
tion ; and indeed every field of Knowledge stood in- 
viting his consideration, only that one, least of all de- 
sirable, the knowledge of good and evil. 

No heights of intellect were unsealed — no depths of 
truth were unfathomed by mind in such happy — 
such heavenly condition. 



160 North Carolina Sermons. 

Stupendous was the power of mind in Eden — utterly 
deplorable its weakness outside the garden. The 
heavenly truths known and enjoyed in Eden, now 
not only lay forgotten, but without power of mind to 
resurrect them. Memory and imagination lay a blank 
wilderness, unproductive, flowerless and fruitless. 

The will, the only faculty of the mind, developed 
by transgression (sad development), was left to man ; 
but left wild, ungovernable and reckless. In fact, the 
remaining faculties of mind were driven by the will 
as clouds before the storm — and like an uncaged lion, 
became only a destructive power. 

So utter was the destruction of the thinking man, 
a thousand years failed to furnish, a historian of the 
race ; nor was there power left to grasp Deity, only 
faintly, as revealed by distant prophecies, by the ter- 
rible judgment of a flood, or the awful splendor of a 
burning Sinai. 

The tower of Babel was but a glaring monument to 
the imbecility of wrecked and depraved reason. 
Thousands of years elapsed before mind could solve 
the true theory of the planetary system, or even com- 
prehend precisely the daily motions of the globe we 
inhabit. 

Millions of gold lay locked securely in the rocky 
vaults of nature, whilst man coveted, but could not 
unfasten the treasure. 

The glorious lightning flashed defiance in the heav- 
ens, and laughed at man's inability to gather and bot- 
tle it up for domestic use. 

In the wafted fragrance of the rosebud ; in the ex- 
panding verdure of the spring time landscape ; in the 
velvet wreaths of the morning mist, gently rising and 
floating over the flowering meadows; in the surging, 
roaring, thundering billows of the* boiling volcano, 
the power of steam played defiantly around man, 
challenging his mind to comprehend and use it. In 



The Wisdom and Spirit op St. Stephen. 161 

short, the mind, like the heart, having all the ele- 
ments of happiness around it, because of depravity, 
was unable to enjoy them. 

The occasional, but merciful promises given to man, 
inspired within him hope for the renovation of heart 
and mind. 

It is interesting to review, as we shall now in the 
Second Part of our discourse, some of the unsuccess- 
ful efforts of mind to work out its own redemption. 
Babylon vainly supposed she had laid the foundation 
of a government and a city that should be perpetual, 
and thus indicate the redemption and the divinity of 
mind; but ere the pinnacle was mounted, and while 
the shouts of victory rang out from the grandest city 
of the world, the germ tf decay was rapidly under- 
mining those towering monuments, and suddenly the 
mind of Babylon lay buried beneath the sands of the 
Euphrates, without even a historian, or a single tower 
to mark the place where thought had elevated herself 
to such dizzy heights. 

In Egypt mind sprang into life. The valley of the 
Nile became her favorite retreat. Expecting to gain 
by experience what was wanting of divinity, she 
plumed her restless wings. From the solid rock were 
carved the Sphinxes and Pyramids, inscribed with 
hyeroglyphics that should indicate the power and 
glory of mind and perpetuate its history to the end of 
time. 

Alas, the base was too small ! The effort was less 
than divine. The Pharoahs passed away. The cities 
of the Nile followed in quick succession. The sands 
of the desert wafted by the winds of heaven left here a 
remnant of hyeroglyphic history, and this remnant 
uninterpreted until the vital breath of Christianity 
should infuse inspiration into the powers of mind. 

Here mercy hovering from above, God took the 
withered germ and planted it in a goodly land. 



162 North Carolina Sermons. 

He revealed himself in the flaming bush, at the Red 
Sea, on burning Sinai, in the fiery pillow, through the 
wilderness and over the historic Jordan. 

These flashes of the Divine mind upon man's, in- 
spired living hopes for the redemption of head and 
of heart. Led by heaven, the problem seemed about 
to be solved. Amid the olive groves and green fields 
of Canaan, thought again sprang vigorously and 
carved its fame and its power on every plain, on every 
hill, on every rock of the fairy land of Palestine. But 
the 'same depravity still existed. Mind threw off the 
divine leadership and proclaimed her own immortal- 
ity. Jerusalem was builded, the temple of Solomon 
completed, and yet of the monuments of human mind 
unconnected with revelation, the merest fragments re- 
main. 

Again the vein of thought was seen rising in the 
Grecian Isles— more vigorous, more confident, more 
proud than ever; and having brought to marvelous 
perfection the science of language, set about the re- 
demption of all her waste territory. Here amid the 
lovely islands, institutions of learning were founded 
that should train men to think correctly— that should 
make statesmen and theologians indeed ; yet the laws 
of Lycurgus and Solon for centuries have been obso- 
lete, and all their wisdom only enabled some of them 
to worship without comprehending the "Unknown 

God." . 

From this age of the world whatever of immortality 
is observed in the operations of the intellect may safely 
be attributed to the reflected light of divine revela- 
tion. 

And now in this the third part of our discourse we 
come to treat of the main subject. 

Christianity, the only poiver that can wake the mind to 
paradisical vigor. 

It may be well to observe that, as Satan's approach 



The Wisdom and Spirit of St. Stephen. 163 

to the heart to corrupt it was the only avenue left open, 
so Christ approaches to redeem it through the same ave- 
nue. The mind is the gateway to the soul and as the 
gateway was entered from without and obstructed from 
within the immortal part is locked within itself until 
the redeeming power of Christianity takes hold, cleanses 
and purifies the fountain. 

The reflex influence of the soul upon the mind and 
of the mind upon the soul is such as to make it utterly 
impossible for one to be divine while the other is hu- 
man or one to be human while the other is divine. 

Now while our educators open the approach to the 
heart, arouse, cultivate, polish and refine the memory, 
the imagination, the reasoning faculties, nothing but 
the wisdom imparted by the living fires of Christianity 
can enable them to erect monuments of mind more 
endearing than the logic of Aristotle, or the learning 
of Socrates. For four thousand years Paganism la 
bored to erect enduring monuments of intellect; and 
devoted the energies of its best minds to resurrect the 
lost wisdom of Paradise. History records but as many 
years of folly, disappointment and sorrow. But when 
the Star of Bethlehem arose in the east, pointing to 
the fulfillment of the prophecies of forty centuries, 
hope sprang enthusiastic in the hearts of men, and 
flashes of electric light ran through the world of mind, 
waking it to a life and vigor akin to that which is 
only divine. 

Judaism, the vehicle of prophetic dispensation, the 
forerunner of Christ's victorious kingdom, waked to a 
fitful energy, only the mind of the chosen nation, 
while the balance of creation lay one vast wilderness 
of sickly, palsied, dying thought. While the new rev- 
elation, the glorious dispensation of love, gave promise 
of the combined resurrection of body, soul and mind, at 
the same time it leaped over the walls of Jerusalem, 
appropriated the classic 4ialls of Greece, seized the 



164 North Carolina Sermons. 

heads of nobility at the Roman capital, and proclaimed 
a mental jubilee to the furthest nations of the globe. 

Wisdom was no longer the exclusive property of 
kings. The heads of men were no longer to be used 
for building monuments to the glory of earthly po- 
tentates : nor the voice of Priest's the only revelation 
of Deity. The middle wall of partition was broken 
down. A perpetual priesthood was established after 
the order Melchizadec — a new and living way opened 
up from earth to glory — a spiritual telegraphic line 
erected, connecting each man directly with the great 
redeeming power of the universe. 

From the advent of Christ each man became a 
prince and the son of a king, having free communni- 
cation with the fountain of knowledge, and receiving 
the daily invitation that " if any of you lack wisdom, 
let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally 
and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." 

No longer is there a circuitous route by way of 
priests and daily sacrifices — -no longer does the wor- 
shiper remain in the outer court waiting while the 
man of God enters the " holy of holies ;" but the 
world is God's holy temple, and the mind of man 
comprehends both nature and revelation, inspired by 
the daily teachings of the Holy Comforter. 

The poorest subject in the church militant has ac- 
cess to all the avenues of knowledge, and may shine 
one of the brightest stars in the church triumphant. 

Christianity sent light and knowledge into the 
highways and hedges, and waked the world, if not to 
a more active, at least to a more correct system of 
thinking. 

Without the aid of the sword it has moved upon 
the face of the world conquering and to conquor. 
While the world for thousands of years was moved by 
mind, inspired by the evil passions, Christianity, by 
renovating both head and heart, changes and invig- 
orates the motive power. 



The Wisdom and Spirit of St. Stephen. 165 

That a few men unknown to fortune and to fame, 
gathered from the fisheries of Judea, should promul- 
gate a system of theology to rule the world, can only 
be accounted for by ascribing divinity to their unpre- 
tending leader. 

The only qualifications ascribed to Stephen, the 
martyr, were that he was " full of faith and the Holy 
Ghost," and yet the text informs us that when the 
hour of his trial came in Jerusalem, " they were not 
able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he 
spake." 

As this holy martyr is a towering example, not 
only of piety, but of resurrected mind, we may well 
call your attention to his short but brilliant career. 
The false rule of deciding the correctness of a man's 
judgment by the success of his life, was in his ex- 
ample death, and posthumous influence most wonder- 
fully contradicted. 

The fires of the Master's spirit had entered his 
heart. Unknown to fame and literary renown, his 
mind nevertheless took hold of the situation, and cor- 
rectly viewed the past, the present and the future. 

On every side he was encompassed with the best 
talent of God's chosen nation. Before him set a great 
company of the priests, partly converted by his wis- 
dom and power; on his right hand were collected the 
unbelieving aristocrats of the notable synagogue, 
where the Libertines, the Cyrenians, the Alexandrians, 
the Cilicians and the Asiatics worshipped in proud 
confidence the God of Israel. Full in his front sat 
Gamaliel, president of the great Sanhedrim, a very 
distinguished doctor of the law, with Paul, the ablest 
and most enthusiastic of students, standing ready to 
receive and promulgate at the point of the sword, any 
of the teachings of the great Jewish Rabbi. And all 
around the martyr stood, gaping with eager counten- 
ances, the excited multitude of the common people. 



166 North Carolina Sermons. 

What a theatrical combination ! What a view for the 
enthusiastic artist! What a rare panorama of the 
nations best intellects, ready to be impressed with the 
resurrected wisdom as displayed in the hero of the 
scene ! The mind of Stephen rose to the grandeur of 
the occasion. His defense is one of the finest ever 
made by mortal man. , 

Rehearsing in brief the dealings of God with the 
Jews, his prophecies, and their subsequent fulfill- 
ments, he charges them with the persecution and 
death of the prophets, the crucifixion of the Saviour, 
and the continual resistence of the Holy Ghost as the 
fatal error of their unregenerated minds. In a mo- 
ment the enraged multitude rushed madly upon this 
blazing star, and to human eyes there was nothing 
left but the mangled body of a christian martyr ; and 
yet the heroism of his mind, sustained by the Holy 
Ghost, has done more for the redemption of man s 
intellect than all the wisdom of Greece and Rome. 

It is clearly observable of all the early efforts of 
mind to redeem itself, that they were fitful, uncertain, 
and often disastrous: but the christian era has been a 
continued record of intellectual victories. 

That man is able now to inscribe his own history on 
the face of everything around him in language well 
nigh universal— to read the fragments of hyeroglyphic 
history, and fill the world with printed books in every 
language, are glorious evidences of the final salvation 
of the lost powers of mind. 

With original vigor Adam imprinted himself on all 
creation, but with the tamed lightning of the nine- 
teenth century, the glories of the cross are heralded to 
every nation. 

The heavenly illumination of the dying Stephen, 
taking hold upon the mind of Paul, the great scholar 
of his age, revolutionized it and sent out a burning, 
living stream of reason that shall continue to be felt 



The Wisdom and Spirit of St. Stephen. 167 

down to the great day of winding up earth's renowned 
history. None but a Stephen was worthy to convert a 
Paul, and none but a Paul was worthy to receive the 
inspired wisdom of the martyred Stephen. 

Since then man has known how to die for the prin- 
ciples of truth, and to be living martyrs that the truth 
may not die. 

The great lights of the mental world for centuries, 
whose wisdom has stood the test of ages, may safely be 
numbered of those inspired by the redeeming powers 
of the Holy Ghost. 

The experience of the nineteen centuries of the 
christian era has hardly sufficed, however, to correct 
the errors in mind of fcur thousand years previous; 
but during the last two centuries, it may be safely 
claimed that reason has been acknowledging her true 
motive power, and learning has come to be called the 
hand-maid of religion. 

All over our land, the church is the best patron of 
learning, and ministers the great teachers of the theo- 
retical and experimental sciences. 

The students of this seat of knowledge before whom 
I have the honor to stand to-day, will pardon me when 
I affirm that none but the power of Christianity could 
have given them the instructors they have, or could 
have handed down to them the living fires of science 
as enjoyed in this school. And none will be more 
willing to attribute his enthusiastic and successful 
pursuit of knowledge to the influence of religion on 
the heart, than the beloved president of this institu- 
tion. 

If there be anything to cheer the christian's heart, 
while looking out upon the wreck of historic years, it 
is that in this our native land so many eminent schol- 
ars are professors of the christian religion. And we 
have those veterans of science, easily pointed out, that 
neither the love of ease or of wealth, the rude havoc of 



168 North Carolina Sermons. 

war or the luxurious revelries of peace, could divert 
from the lovely enjoyments of knowledge. 

Milton was a christian hero in the world of thought, 
but America has her heroes no less deserving immor- 
tal honors. 

Allow me my young friends who are here engaged 
in the delightful pursuit of knowledge, to impress upon 
you the importance of a christian education. 

Alexander the Great was not a failure for want of 
mind, but because that mind wanted the redeeming 
inspiration of the christian religion. The promulga- 
tors of spiritualism in our own country, an insiduous 
species of infidelity, are not so much wanting m activ- 
ity of intellect as they are cursed with a want of the 
sanctifying truths of Christianity. 

Bunyan's devoted intellect has saved the world from 
more disaster than all that class of modern schoolmen 
who deny an experimental change of the heart. _ That 
man is a dangerous teacher who refuses to think ac- 
cording to the mental philosophy of the Bible. 

One of the peculiarities of the New Testament char- 
acters is that of independent, vigorous and correct 
thought, and it is a special duty of the present genera- 
tion, to grasp, use, and conquer, with that system 
handed down by Divine revelation. 

My dear young friends let me now entreat you to 
learn to think for yourselves. 

Remember the shining example of Stephen, the vic- 
torious career of Paul, and all the brilliant array of 
the New Testament characters, who handed down that 
last aud best revelation, designed fully to redeem all 
the lost powers, to make this desert world again blos- 
som as the roses of Eden, and awaken the mind to the 
beauty, power and vigor, of the original Paradise. 



Parental Responsibility. 169 



PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY. 

By Rev. John S. Watkins, D. I)., 
Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, N. C. 



For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for 
the iniquity which lie knoweth ; because his sons made them 
Vile and he restrained them not. — 1 Samuel hi: 13. 

Eli was a good man. He was conscientious and 
faithful in discharging the duties which belonged to 
his priestly office. He was devoted to the service of 
God. His character seems to have been unexception- 
able. The magnanimous spirit which he showed to 
his younger rival, Samuel, who was about to supplant 
him, and the resignation he manifested on hearing 
God's awful judgment on his family, furnish ample 
proof of his piety. But " no man liveth to himself." 
There are other responsibilities resting upon us be- 
sides those which relate to our own individual charac- 
ters. We sustain certain relations to those around us 
— and out of these relations arise numerous and heavy 
responsibilities. 

Eli was a father, and God held him accountable, as 
a parent, lor the horrible vices and excesses of his sons 
which he might have prevented, at least in a great 
measure. He thoughtlessly indulged them, and per- 
mitted them to disgrace themselves and pollute God's 
holy place with their vile immoralities. He failed to 
exercise that parental authority with which he was 
clothed, and withheld that power of restraint which 
he was bound to exert. Consequently, he incurred 
the displeasure of the Almighty. In not restraining 
the sins of his children when it was in his power, he 
became partaker of their guilt, and brought down the 



170 North Carolina Sermons. 

awful curse of God upon his family — a curse which 
was entailed from generation to generation. The ears 
of all Israel tingled when they heard that his sons 
were slain, his own neck was broken, and his family 
dispersed. 

The old man, whose character was in many respects 
to be admired, came to a sad and bitter end, and died 
with a broken heart as well as with a broken neck. 

The fact that God sent upon him, his family and 
posterity, so great a curse, on account of the neglect 
of parental restraint, sets before us in a very strong 
light the greatness of parental responsibility . 

Our text teaches that God has committed to parents, 
in giving them children, a sacred and solemn trus!, 
and that He will hold them to account for the mm- 
ner in which they have discharged it. There is but 
little hope of our coming up to the full measure of 
our duty in this regard unless we are rightly im- 
pressed with a sense of our responsibility. We have 
only to glance around us in society to be persuaded of 
the painful truth that this solemn responsibility which 
God has imposed, rests lightly on the minds and 
hearts of many. The constant complaints of neglect 
on part of christians of family religion and family 
worship, brought up to our church courts, bear wit- 
ness to the truth that the}' do not feel the solemn 
weight of their obligations. 

If this is true of so many who profess to be chil- 
dren of God, ought we be amazed at the great indif- 
ference which prevails among those who make no pre- 
tensions to piety ? 

As all those who have children must meet God at 
the bar of judgment, not in the capacity of private, 
isolated individuals, but in the capacity of parents, to 
give account of the sacred trust committed to them, 
surely it is well for them to anticipate these solemn 
scenes, to earnestly enquire into and honestly face 



Parental Responsibility. 171 

their responsibilities now. In view of an assembled 
world, our children shall stand by our side before 
the grand assize, and call us blessed, or pronounce 
curses upon our heads. 

I. I would direct your attention, first, to the respon- 
sibility which arises from thelatv of heredity — the great 
law that like produces like. According to this law, 
which admits of slight variations in its operation, 
parents impart to their offspring their own physical, 
mental and moral qualities. That children are born 
with certain undeveloped traits and qualities, and 
latent tendencies, is amply proved by their subsequent 
history under the same training. The precise extent 
to which they inherit the qualities of their parents 
cannot be determined. The relative amount of influ- 
ence which each parent exerts in determining these 
native traits is an open question. It cannot be denied 
that they both exert very great influence, and that 
the parents are reproduced in the child. If we vio- 
late the laws of health ; if we injure our physical sys- 
tem by excessive and unlawful indulgences ; if we 
weaken our constitutions by dissipation, our children 
will have to suffer for it according to the law of which 
we have spoken. Predispositions to disease are trans- 
mitted from parent to child through generations. 

The intemperate father whose brain is constantly 
inflamed, whose body is unnaturally excited by strong 
drink may not only impart to his child his own fond- 
ness for liquor, but may instill the very poison in his 
veins which will burn through a life-time of wretch- 
edness. 

Do we not all know families in which intemperance 
has prevailed for generations back, and it has come 
down by the natural law of inheritance. How many 
a poor, pitiful, miserable child has come into the world 
doomed to suffer because its blood has been poisoned 
through the low immoralities of a once dissipated 



172 North Carolina Sermons. 

father ! Think you that these originators of unceas- 
ing streams of suffering and dishonor will escape the 
righteous judgment of God? 

Again, it is possible for us to acquire certain quali- 
ties, dispositions, tastes and habits, not native, and 
transmit them to our offspring. By yielding to the 
impulses of anger, and failing to exercise self-restraint, 
we may fasten upon ourselves an irritable, sour, harsh 
temper, which will re-appear in the fruit of our bodies. 

We may give ourselves to self-indulgence and per- 
mit ourselves to become indolent and inactive, and 
stamp upon our posterity laziness and worthlessness. 

We may become untruthful and dishonest, and fas- 
ten these ugly traits upon our descendants through 
the law of inheritance. 

You often hear it said of certain persons that their 
fathers were sharp and tricky before them, and we 
cannot expect any better of them. We cannot do an 
injury to ourselves without in some way injuring the 
generations following us. Parents, through the sinful 
habits and tastes they can form, and the bad character 
into which they can mould themselves may stamp 
upon their offspring that which will almost insure an 
immortality of woe. 

It is true that our descendants are free, responsible 
agents — but they may inherit such sinful traits and 
tendencies as will place them at a great disadvantage 
in the race of life. They will have far more to over- 
come than they would have had if their parents had 
been different. They will yield more readily to temp- 
tation, and lose more easily the great prize of eternal 
life. Inherited qualities become most important fac- 
tors in determining character and destiny. It is true, 
as the Bible declares, that all are born in sin and con- 
ceived in iniquity. We necessarily transmit to our 
children that taint of sin which has coursed down 
through the generations from our first father. But 



Parental Responsibility. 173 

we may very greatly multiply the difficulties which 
lie in the way of their attaining happiness and holi- 
ness by superinducing upon ourselves special forms of 
physical, mental and moral weakness and disorder 
which are liable to be reproduced through the law of 
heredity. And we may greatly diminish those diffi- 
culties by eradicating sin from our natures through 
the grace of God by self-restraint and diligence, and 
by cultivating those tastes and dispositions which may 
be imparted through inheritance. The young man 
who spends his youth amid scenes of dissipation and 
vice, weakening his physical and poisoning his moral 
nature, but little imagines that he is preparing seeds 
of woe — and that in the sufferings and sorrows of his 
posterity will be registered his own crimes against 
God and man. The thoughtless, silly woman, who 
from some fancy, marries an intemperate or immoral 
man, is heedless of the consequences of her folly, and 
forgets that she must share the responsibility for that 
heritage of woe which is to curse her offspring. 

II. Consider next that the children for whose exis- 
tence we are responsible are immortal beings with ever ex- 
panding powers and ever increasing capacities for joy and, 
sorroiv. 

In looking upon our little ones we often think of 
their temj oral wants. We bring all our resources un- 
der contribution to advance their earthly interests. 
We anxiously provide every means by which they 
may be able to enjoy the advantages of education and 
maintain social standing. We are eager for them to 
have a fair start in life and to get on well in the world. 
And all this is right. But we forget too often that 
within these little forms is enshrined an immortal 
spark that shall burn with increasing brightness 
through the ever revolving cycles of time. They shall 
live after the stars have faded from heaven and suns, 
have ceased to shine. 

9 



174 North Carolina Sermons. 

When the mighty angel shall stand with one foot 
upon the sea and the other upon the earth, and shall 
swear that time shall be no longer, they will gird 
themselves with the vigor of immortal youth. 

If you neglect your child and fail to do your duty 
towards it, so that it is lost at last through your disre- 
gard of its claims upon you, you initiate a line of suf- 
fering that will stretch through the unending ages, 
broadening as it goes. And that neglected child may 
have a numerous posterity which will follow in the 
same track, so that the ever widening and ever pro- 
gressive streams of woe will be multiplied indefinitely, 
all starting from you as the source. 

Stand at the beginning of those multiplied lines 
and cast your eyes down the infinite future, and see 
them all ablaze with anguish and misery. How fear- 
fully solemn the thought that the lines which emanate 
from us, lines which in a great measure are deter- 
mined by us, shall continue forever. No power in 
heaven, earth or hell can quench that life when it is 
once brought into existence. 

If you would get a glimpse of parental responsibil- 
ity go back to the origin of our race. Look upon the 
first pair in primeval innocence as they came from 
the hand of God. Think of the glorious possible fu- 
ture they had before them. The earth around them 
had been prepared and adorned by the great Artificer. 
It was overspread with ten thousand objects of attrac- 
tion, and became radiant with beauty. There was 
nothing to mar its loveliness. Had that happy pair 
remained firm in their allegiance to God, from them 
would have issued a race of pure, holy and happy be- 
ings, reflecting the image of God, and the earth would 
ha*ve become vocal with his praises. But they cut 
themselves loose from God by their wilful disobedi- 
ence, and corrupted their souls, and the taint has 
passed upon the countless millions that have descended 
from them. 



Parental Responsibility. 175 

Begin at the source of the stream and sum up all 
the sorrow, suffering and misery earth has ever 
known — add to it all that earth will know in the fu- 
ture — step across the bounds of time and follow into 
eternity all the lost ones who have gone, and will go, 
to their last sad abodes — measure their woes — add 
them all together, and you will form some conception 
of parental responsibility 

What a wonderful power God has given man in 
permitting to emanate from him a series of existences 
of similar stamp that shall live forever. Angels are 
created separately, and know nothing of this weighty 
responsibility. Their obligations are individual in 
their character. The angels that sinned only dragged 
themselves down. 

But man in corrupting his soul drags posterity down 
with him, and a herd of wretched victims gather 
around him forever, staring him in the face and 
charging him with their woes. 

God in infinite mercy would not leave sin to do its 
awful work. He graciously interposed, and through 
his only Son, offers eternal life. Blessed be his name, 
though we inherit the taint of original corruption, we 
may become new centres of life — and turn the tide 
of retributive woes. Through his grace we may be- 
come children of God, and heirs of eternal life. And 
he has promised to be a God to us and to our seed, and 
our posterity, instead of rising up to curse us may rise 
to call us blessed, and become a source of unending 

joy- 

III. Again, children are born in a condition of per- 
fect helplessness and ignorance and entire dependence. 
Parents are their natural and rightful protectors and 
governors. Being responsible for their existence they 
are bound to support, instruct and direct them. Be- 
sides parental obligation is not only based on natural 
relationship, but on the express ordinance of God. 






176 North Carolina Sermons. 

The family is a divine institution, and God has con- 
stituted the parents the sole guardians and governors 
of their children. Yea, he has invested them with 
absolute power over them for one fourth of their whole lives, 
supposing that they live to the age of three score and 
ten. The family is a miniature government in which 
the parents reign supreme Their word is as final as 
that formerly pronounced by the Kings of the Medes 
and Persians. No one can interfere with their author- 
ity, or invade the sacred precincts of their rule. Of 
course the State can interfere to prevent cruelty and 
arraign them for violating the laws which protect life. 
But virtually they are absolute autocrats. It rests with 
them to determine their child's education, associations 
and habits. God will hold them responsible for the 
use of that almost unrestricted and unique authority 
which he has lodged in them. If they ignorantly, 
carelessly, or selfishly turn over the work to others, 
which properly belongs to themselves, let them count 
the cost and remember the account they must give. 
They cannot roll off their burdens upon servants and 
teachers, however good they may be. They cannot 
discharge by proxy the sacred trust committed to 
them. The father and the mother share this power 
of government, while God has constituted the former 
the principal source of authority. There are many 
fathers, however, who throw almost the whole burden 
upon their wives and are almost strangers to their 
children. They excuse themselves on the ground that 
it takes all of their lime to provide for the family. Of 
course they must be absent much of their time, but 
the cares of business do not excuse them from that 
neglect of which many are guilty. It were better that 
business should suffer a little than that the immortal 
souls they brought into existence should suffer. It 
were better for the mother to have a house a little less 
neat and ornate, furniture a little less polished, and 



Parental Responsibility. 177 

clothes a little less ruffled, than for her child to get 
from under her influence and have a crust formed over 
his soul which her hot, scalding tears and fervent 
prayers cannot melt. When they stand before God in 
the last solemn day with their children at their side, 
doomed and damned, they will get but little consola- 
tion from the fact that once they excelled all their 
neighbors in the elegance of their domestic arrange- 
ments. 

There is no escape from the responsibility arising 
from the authority with which God has invested par- 
ents. They are not only their protectors and sup- 
porters, but their teachers. They must give attention 
not only to their physical and mental, but also to their 
moral and spiritual training. Many parents seem 
most concerned for the intellectual culture of their chil- 
dren, forgetting that the most highly educated brain 
can never supply the defects of an impure, neglected 
heart. Bacon is described by Pope as the i! wisest, 
greatest and meanest of mankind." The moral blot on 
his memory is rendered all the blacker by his mental 
greatness. 

Some parents are mainly concerned that their chil- 
dren should be trained in all the arts of social life, and 
should make a fine appearance in society. Others are 
ambitious for them to be wealthy. 

How comparatively small is the number whose first 
and grand desire is that their children should be con- 
sistent, faithful christians, humble followers of Jesus 
Christ, God-fearing, God-loving, God-obeying. 

God has constituted parents spiritual guardians, and 
they are bound to teach their children right views oj 
life — the great end of life. They are bound to impart to 
them what they believe to be the truth concerning 
God and the future world. 

There are some who maintain that parents ought 
not to instil religious truths and doctrines into their 



178 North Carolina Sermons. 

children's minds, but should wait until they become 
old enough to judge for themselves, that they ought to 
leave their minds unbiased. The easy answer to this 
lies in the fact that while they are waiting for this 
maturity of judgment, the devil is at work sowing the 
seeds of evil in the soul and plying his secret, ruthless 
task of preparation for destruction. 

One of Coleridge's friends was one day sitting with 
him near his window, pressing this argument about 
leaving the minds of the young unprejudiced. Cole- 
ridge pointed to a garden which was overrun with 
weeds and briers, and said : "There is my botanical 
garden." "How," said he, "it is all gone to weeds." 
Coleridge replied promptly: "I did not want to 
prejudice the garden towards roses and jessamines." 

IV. Our sense of parental responsibility will be fur- 
ther heightened, if we consider the nature, condition 
and capacities of childhood. While the child is born 
with certain inherited, undeveloped dispositions and 
tendencies, as we have remarked, it is yet in a plastic 
state, and shapes or moulds itself to the impressions it 
gathers. Long before a child is capable of speech, it 
is capable of receiving impressions. It begins to shape 
its character from the beginning by a slow and natural 
process of absorption. It unconsciously absorbs the 
moral influence around it. It knows the meaning of 
looks and motions before it can express thought. Im- 
patience, anger, grief and fretful n ess, in their various 
manifestations, leave an impression and become seeds 
of character. Under this law of moral infection the 
character of parents passes upon their children. Yea, 
they breathe into them their very nature, slowly, day 
by day. In all children, there is too, a natural ten- 
dency to imitation. They will inevitably go by the 
models they have before them. Bring into view along- 
side of this law of moral infection, and the natural 
tendency to imitation, the love which children feel 



Parental Responsibility. 179 

towards their parents, the confidence they repose in 
them, and also the power oi parental love, and you will 
begin to regard parental responsibility in its true 
light. You must readily see that their characters and 
therefore their eternal destinies lie in your hands, at 
least in a very, very great measure. In reading the 
Old Testament, particularly the book of Kings, how 
often do we come across sentences like this : " He 
walked in all the sins of his fattier which he had done 
before him." 

It is said of one of the good Kings, (Jehosaphat) : 
" He sought the Lord God of his father and walked in 
his commandments." As there is a law of unchristian 
nurture by which sinful habits are transmitted to the 
next generation, so there is a law of christian nurture 
according to which, with divine help, the godly fam- 
ily becomes a nursery of religion, and perpetuates 
christian sentiments. We know that the grace of God 
cannot be transmitted by inheritance — yet the con- 
scientious piety of parents may be and is generally re- 
produced in their children under the law of christian 
nurture and under that divine covenant arrangement 
in which God promises to be a God to our children. 

Paul speaks of Timothy's faith as a thing naturally 
to be expected. It existed in his grandmother and 
then in his mother, and on these grounds the apostle 
was persuaded that it was Timothy's possession. Not 
that he actually inherited it, but received it through 
the relationships of nature and grace and God's cove- 
nant arrangement. 

In view of all that has been said it is perfectly plain: 

(1) That parents should pray constantly and fer- 
vently to God for wisdom and grace that they may be 
enabled to bring up their children aright. They 
should bear them upon the arms of their faith to the 
great Physician, who is able and willing to heal all 






180 North Carolina Sermons. 

their diseases and to present them faultless before the 
presence of His glory. 

(2) In every household there should be a family 
altar around which the members should gather daily 
to offer the incense of praise and thanksgiving to God, 
and to invoke His protection, guidance an(|jblessing. 

(3) Parents should especially seek to live pure, holy 
and happy lives, that their children may see and feel 
the excellence of that religion which they profess. 

They busy themselves in vain with the words and 
acts of religious observance unless they show in their 
lives the power of religion to make them God loving, 
and holy and contented. 

(4) They should endeavor to make their homes at- 
tractive. A happy christian home is one of the surest 
antidotes against sinful amusements and dissipations. 

(5) Parents should regard the right training of their 
children as the greatest and most important work of 
their lives. In attending to this duty aright they are 
doing most for the church, most for society, most 
for their country and most for their God. And they 
should look forward with, bounding joy to a blessed 
and eternal reunion in heaven — to that time when 
they shall stand before their God and Savior, and say : 
" Here am I and the children thou hast given me." 



THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS. 

By Rev. John R. Brooks, 

Of the North Carolina Conference. 



Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness. — 1 
Timothy hi : 16. 

One of the oldest and chiefest objections to Christianity 
is the alleged contrariety in the teaching of reason 



The Mystery of Godliness. 181 

and revelation. And men imagine that they see such 
inconsistency of teaching in the admitted fact that 
mystery hangs about the doctrines of our holy relig- 
ion. Assuming that mystery implies absurdity, they 
urge the conceded fact of mystery in these doctrines 
as a sufficient reason for their utter rejection. Start- 
ing with the concession that the Bible is mysterious, 
and the postulate that reason rejects mystery, they 
conclude that revelation is not the product of the Di- 
vine Reason. They insist, too, that as God is good 
and just, he does not require such an impossibility as 
man's acceptance of the mysteries and supposed ab- 
surdities of the Bible. 

Nor does this objection come merely from the 
avowed infidel, who professes to believe in God, but 
rejects revelation. On the contrary, it comes from all 
the schools of unbelief that range from the rational- 
ist, who accepts part of the Bible, to the atheist, who 
rejects the first and basal fact of all religion. All 
these urge the fact of mystery as a sufficient reason 
for the rejection of a part or the whole of natural or 
revealed religion. 

It is proposed, in this discourse, to show, as well as 
I may be able, the utter groundlessness of such objec- 
tion to our holy religion. In doing so, I shall en- 
deavor to establish the following simple proposition, 
suggested by the text, viz. : 

The concession of mystery in the doctrines and 
facts of Christianity does not necessitate their 
rejection by reason. 

In attempting to establish this general proposition, 
I shall discuss several subordinate and subsidiary 
ones — 

I. The first of these is, that mystery does not necessa- 
rily involve absurdity or a contradiction of reason. 

It is believed that this objection to mystery has 



182 North Carolina Sermons. 

come from ignorance or oversight as to its nature, 
cause and locality. Now, what is a mystery, really, 
that we should so strenuously object to it? What is 
there in its nature so forbidding or ridiculous that we 
should with horror shrink from it, or with contempt 
reject it? Let us remember that a dark and profound 
mystery may be a harmless and blessed fact — a bright 
and glorious truth. As one has truly said, a mystery 
"is merely a fact or law not now known to us, but 
known to some other mind, or capable of being known 
by our mind or some other's." If this definition be 
true, then mystery is simply the unknown, not the un- 
knowable; the hidden, not the horrible; the covered 
and inexplicable, not the ridiculous and absurd. In 
a word, a profound and, to us, impenetrable mystery 
may be the healthy product of right reason, and not 
the hideous and fungous outgrowth of a distempered 
intellect. 

The rational and harmless nature of a mystery may 
be seen in its cause and locality. For, in an impor- 
tant sense, these are unquestionably subjective, rather 
than objective. The}' are in the mind that thinks, 
rather than in the object thought of. Its cause is ig- 
norance in us, and not confusion in nature or absur- 
dity in theology. The acute thinker, already quoted, 
says: "Mystery is not in the thing studied : it is in 
you, it is in me. It is simply the limit of our knowl- 
edge. It is simply the measure of our ignorance. 
* * * The outward limit of our knowledge rests 
on the inward limit of mystery." We may say, then, 
that mystery is the compass that describes the circle 
enclosing all our knowledge; that it indicates the line 
which separates our knowledge from our ignorance — 
the known from the unknown. It is simply the fact 
which indicates the extent to which our knowledge 
of nature and religion has penetrated — not the extent 
to which it may go, nor that to which the knowledge 
of others has gone. 



The Mystery op Godliness, 183 

The facts of nature and religion — of science and 
theology — and the knowledge of these facts may ap- 
proximate, if not reach, the infinite. But the mind 
of man is finite — limited in its capacity for knowledge 
and in the sources of its information. Hence, while 
on earth, at least, there may be a large area of 
mystery never explored by his mind — a large 
measure of attainable knowledge never taken into his 
intellect and heart. It may possibly be so with 
him after he reaches heaven, and with the highest 
archangel now. There are many degrees or points of 
attainment along this approximately infinite line of 
knowledge already reached by different orders of be- 
ing, and by different beings of the same order. God 
stands at the top of this ladder of knowledge, and the 
infant on the lowest round. The youth, the aged 
philosopher, the saint in heaven, and the highest arch- 
angel stand at intermediate points, removed from these 
extremes in the ratio of their intelligence and knowl- 
edge. 

The view of the infant, from his low standpoint, is 
necessarily' limited ; that of the youth is more ex- 
tended, and, as we ascend the scale of being and 
knowledge, the prospect gradually widens and length- 
ens until we reach the All-seing and All knowing. 
His view of the universe of mind and matter stretches 
out into infinite perspective — widens into boundless 
prospect. But little is known to the infant — nearly 
everything is mystery to him. There is more knowl- 
edge and less mystery to these intermediate grades of 
intelligence and attainment. But to God everything 
in heaven, earth, and hell — every fact and law in 
the universe — is utterly and thoroughly known. 
There is absolutely no mystery to him. Objective 
and subjective truth are perfectly coincident to his 
mind. 

Like the colors of nature, the cause of mystery 



184 North Carolina Sermons. 

seems to be objective, but it is really subjective. It 
seems to be in the object viewed or considered, but it is 
really in the viewing and considering of the subject. As 
with the colors, we, in thought, transfer it to the ex- 
ternal fact, but it remains with the internal mind. 
Mystery has for its basis, is caused by, and is in pro- 
portion to, the incapacity or ignorance of our minds, 
and not the intricacy or difficulty of the subject con- 
sidered. 

History, observation, and Scripture furnish us abun- 
dant proof and illustration of the fact that a mystery 
may be an important truth ; that its localit} 7 ' is in the 
mind, and that its cause is ignorance in us, and not 
absurdity in nature or religion. 

1. We have such proof and illustration in the fact 
that what is mysterious to one man or age is perfectly 
plain to another. 

The unlettered African or Indian looks with amaze- 
ment at the white man as he wraps his blanket about 
himself in winter and about his ice in summer; but 
the merest tyro in science can easily explain the phil- 
osophy of his course. 

The rude back- woodsman looks with profound won- 
der into the mysteries of the telegraph office; but 
they are quite plain to the philosopher, and compara- 
tively so to the unscientific operator. 

And it is well known, as one has said, that some of 
the leading sciences, such as Botany, Chemistry, and 
Astronomy, are of comparatively modern origin. The 
many mysteries that these sciences have uncovered 
were hidden to former ages. What, for example, did 
mankind know of the latent powers and marvelous 
triumphs of steam and electricity a century ago? 
What were profound and unthought-of mysteries to 
our fathers are wonderfully plain and useful realities 
to their sons. " The dreams of one age become the 
science of the next" 



The Mystery op Godliness. 185 

This is true of religion as well as of nature— of the- 
ology as well as of science. From the Bible we learn 
that part of God's plan for redeeming the world was 
"hid " with himself during the patriarchal and pro- 
phetic ages. It was plain to Him, but St. Paul says it 
was a mystery to prophets and others. Take, for il- 
lustration, one item in that plan — the fact that the 
Gentile world should be " fellow heirs " with the Jews 
to the benefits of redemption. The apostle says that 
fact was the mystery which was hid from prophets, 
but was revealed to him and others. In the verse con- 
taining the text, he says that one of the mysteries of 
godliness is the far-t that Christ is " preached unto the 
Gentiles" — preached unto them as their Saviour, as 
well as to the Jews, as their Messiah. 

The Jews thought the mystery that God loves the 
Gentiles equally with themselves a dark and degrad- 
ing falsehood, not to be tolerated for a moment. But 
it turns out to be a blessed and glorious fact, giving 
life and hope to the heathen world, lying in darkness, 
death, and sin. Mark that the mystery here was not 
an absurdity, or something difficult of comprehension, 
but simply something not before known. To God and 
the apostles the mystery had no existence. It was a 
reality to the prophets and the Jews only because of 
their ignorance of God's purpose and plan. 

So to-day the doctrines of the incarnation, the cru- 
cifixion, and regeneration, are rejected by the skeptic 
as absurd mysteries. But to the Christian they be- 
come unspeakably plain and precious facts of con- 
sciousness, as he by repentance turns from sin, and by 
faith looks to the incarnate and crucified One to save 
him. 

2. We see such proof and illustration again in the 
fact that whst is mysterious to a man at one period in 
his history may be perfectly plain to him at another. 

Newton and Kepler, when boys, doubtless looked 



186 North Carolina Sermons. 

into the mathematics and the heavens as profound 
and unfathomable mysteries. But, afterwards, as 
philosophers, with the principles of the one they un- 
covered and made plain the hidden laws and wonder- 
ful revolutions of the other. The learned philosopher 
of to day, when a boy, regarded the English alphabet 
and the multiplication table as dark abysses of mys- 
tery. But now he is familiar with the literature of 
Greece and Rome, written in dead and difficult lan- 
guages, and can discuss intelligently the most abstruse 
laws and principles of, the higher mathematics. 

All was mysterious disaster to Jacob as he, almost 
heart-broken, piteous^ cried : " Me have ye bereaved 
of my children : Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, 
and ye will take Benjamin away : all these things are 
against me" But all was plain, and bright, and glori- 
ous as he, in Egypt, embraced his beloved and long- 
lost, but now opulent and princely Joseph, and looked 
back on the way in which God had so wisely and 
mercifully led him. 

All the blessed facts and doctrines of revelation and 
experience, such as the incarnation, atonement, and 
resurrection of Jesus Christ ; and such as pardon, 
peace, and eternal life through him, were absurd, 
fanatical, and mysterious falsehoods to Saul of Tarsus, 
on his persecuting mission to Damascus. But they 
were glorious truths of God, and precious facts of con- 
sciousness to Paul, the apostle, as he, in sight of the 
New Jerusalem, wrote his son Timothy : " I am now 
ready to be offered " 

All the future was mysteriously dark and gloomy 
to Bunyan's pilgrim, as he left the City of Destruction. 
But, as he reached the gate of the Celestial City and 
looked back on the past, all his pilgrimage gleamed 
with the shimmer of a heavenly light and glory. 

There was no absurdity in these mysteries of New- 
ton and Kepler, of Jacob and Paul, when they came 



The Mystery op Godliness. 187 

to be understood. And they found, as we now see, 
that they ceased to be mysterious at all, when their 
ignorance was displaced by light and knowledge. 

II. The second subsidiary proposition which it is 
proposed to establish is this : That the rejection of any 
fact or doctrine of Christianity because it is mysterious 
would involve logically the rejection of the leading and ad- 
mitted facts and doctrines of science and, natural religion. 

For, it is a well-attested fact that there are just as 
many and as great mysteries connected with what 
these skeptical objectors believe as there are with what 
they reject. It has often been said that nature is full 
of mysteries — full of facts and laws, which, because of 
our ignorance, we do not understand. They are seen 
in every department of nature — in every science 
known to man — everywhere he turns his eyes or di- 
rects his thoughts. The difficulty in illustrating the 
proposition under consideration comes, not from a 
lack of such facts, but from our perplexity in solect- 
ing from the great number and variety before us. 
Let us, however, notice a few of them : 

1. The skeptical philosopher laughs complacently 
at both the illiterate rustic and the cultivated Chris- 
tian. He laughs at the former because he refuses to 
believe what he does not understand in nature — the 
revolution of the earth around the sun, for example. 
He laughs at the latter because he insists on believing 
what he does not understand in religion — the doctrine 
of the Trinity, for instance. He contemptuously re- 
gards both these men as weak and inconsistent sim- 
pletons. But they may, with as much propriety, 
laugh at him ; for lie is as weak and inconsistent as 
either of them, and far more so than the Christian. 
He accepts the fact of nature, but rejects that of re- 
ligion, while he understands the philosophy of neither. 
For he really knows no more of the mystery of grav- 



188 North Carolina Sermons. 

itation than the Christian does of that connected with 
the Trinity. He may be satisfied rationally that the 
earth, under the influence of gravitation, moves reg- 
ularly in its orbit around the sun, but can he tell us 
what gravitation is, and how and why it operates in 
this way? No more than the Christian can tell, from 
observation, what God is, and how and why he exists 
in and works through a Trinity of persons. The 
truth is, that the Christian is the only wise and con- 
sistent one of the three; for he accepts both facts 
without waiting to understand the philosophy or mys- 
tery of either. He accepts them both on testimony — 
one on the testimony of philosophers or observation, 
the other on that of God and men, and, as some think', 
that of consciousness — a God-consciousness. 

2. Take an illustration from another department of 
knowledge — one suggested by a writer on this sub- 
ject. _ 

It is an accepted dictum of science that heat is a 
mode of motion. It is insisted and believed that when 
any motion is impeded it is converted into heat. We 
have an illustration of this truth when we see a can- 
non-ball become hissing hot as it strikes a target. 
Professor Tyndall would tell us that the heat of this 
ball results from the change of the motion of the mass 
into a motion of the atoms composing the mass. Also 
that these atomic motions, communicated to the nerves, 
produce in the mind the sensation of heat. And we 
believe all this. But, will he go a step farther and tell 
how this change is effected ? How the motion of the 
mass is converted into the motion of the atoms com- 
posing it? And will he tell us how these atomic mo- 
tions reach the nerves, and, through them, produce in 
the mind the sensation of heat? Never! For he 
really knows no more of the subtile and occult forces 
and laws that underlie these surface facts than the 
Christian does of the spiritual laws and forces that 



The Mystery of Godliness. 189 

produce in the mind of the- believer the sensation of 
love to God and man. 

3. Let us look at some of the facts that come under 
our daily observation. All men believe that plants 
and animals grow. But do they know how they grow? 
The botanist may tell us a great deal about the pro- 
cesses by which plant-life is developed. But can he 
tell us how it is that in exactly the same soil and at- 
mo phere such a diversity of vegetables, trees, and 
fruits is produced? Does he say that such variety is 
caused by the difference in the seeds and germs of 
plant-life? If so, will he also tell us how and why 
these seeds and germs effect such diversity ? Hardly ! 

The physiologist undertakes to tell us something of 
the development of animal life. He talks learnedly 
of the processes of mastication, deglutition, digestion, 
and assimilation, that go on in the animal sj'stem and 
produce growth. But, will he tell us how and why 
these processes go on and produce this result? Will 
he tell us exactly how and why the same food, going 
through these processes, produce different results in 
different animals? Will he tell us, for example, why 
it is that the nourishment coming from grass produces 
feathers on the goose, hair on the ox, bristles on the 
hog, and wool on the sheep? Will he tell us how, in 
the case of the same man, the same food, going through 
the same processes, is converted into blood, and bone, 
and muscle, and nerve; into hair, and eyes, and teeth, 
and nails? When he explains these mysteries, the 
Christian will be prepared to explain to him the hid- 
den processes by which Jesus Christ, as " the Bread of 
Life," and his Word, as the "sincere milk" and 
"strong meat" of the gospel, afford nourishment, 
beauty, and strength to man's spiritual nature. 

4. The skeptic rejects the doctrine of the incarnation 
because he does not see how two natures can be united 
in one person. Will he, or any other psychologist, ex- 



190 North Carolina Sermons. 

plain the mystery that hangs about the union in one 
person of man's mental and physical natures? Will 
he show us the exact point of contact between the 
mind and body, and tell us how they are held to- 
gether? Will he explain the process by which the 
mind controls the body and communicates its wish to 
the different members of the same? He may talk 
wisely and knowingly of the nerves of sensation, which, 
like telegraph wires, convey intelligence to every part. 
And he may tell us of the motor nerves, which, like 
cords, connect the mind with the muscles and enable 
it to move them at will. But, will he be so good as to 
go a little farther into the mysteries of this union, and 
tell us hoiu and why these nerves serve the mind in this 
waji? If so, then the Christian philosopher will tell 
him how Divinity was projected into the humanity of 
Jesus Christ, and explain the hidden laws and bonds 
that hold these two natures together. 

Let us look at some of the facts and doctrines of 
natural religion and of atheism : 

1. Take the fact of God's existence, admitted by the 
deist" and infidel. Do they understand the fact or 
philosophy of his eternal self-existence any more than 
the Christian does his triune existence? Is not the 
former much more mysterious than the latter? And 
does it not seem that the man who can accept unques- 
tioning!}' the incomprehensible mystery of God's un- 
originated and eternal existence could believe that 
this mysterious Being exists in three persons? 

2. Does the infidel understand creation any more 
than he does the incarnation and the resurrection? Is 
it not harder to see how God brought the universe out 
of nothing than it is to believe that he tabernacled in 
the flesh, and will, on the resurrection morn, gather up 
and reanimate the dust of his saints? 



The Mystery of Godliness. 191 

3. Does the atheistic materialist get rid of mystery 
by denying the existence of a personal and moral God ? 
He believes in the existence of our universe of mind 
and matter. Will he tell us where that universe came 
from, and how and why it came? Does he say that it 
sprung from what he calls " incandescent star dust?" 
Does he tell us that the occult forces ol nature have 
evolved this universe of life and beauty, of grandeur 
and utility, out of this lifeless and burning star-dust? 
But, will he go a step farther in his explanation of 
mysteries and tell us how these forces .did this, and 
where they and this star-dust came from ? Does he 
answer that they are eternal or self-created? But, is 
not this as great a mystery as God's eternal, personal, 
and triune existence? 

The plain truth is, that man's effort to get rid of 
mystery has always proved fruitless and vain. When 
he has rejected one fact or doctrine because it was 
mysterious, he has unwittingly and necessarily held 
on to others that were equally so. In running from 
one mystery he has blindly stumbled over another. 
And, in uncovering one old one, he has discovered 
two or more new ones. For example, when he found 
that gravitation accounts for the revolutions of the 
heavenly bodies, he discovered two other mysteries in 
the nature of gravitation, and the philosophy of its 
operation. 

Indeed, no sober scientist or theologian will pretend 
that he has reached absolute truth in his interpretation 
of nature or revelation. They do not think of claim- 
ing that all objective and subjective truth is coincident 
to their minds. On the contrary, they readily admit 
that there is much truth, both in nature and revela- 
tion, not yet discovered by the greatest human intel- 
lect. That there are many lessons of wisdom, written 
in the books of Nature and Grace, not yet learned by 
the profoundest philosopher and most learned divine. 



192 North Carolina Sermons. 

And the honest thinker is forced to admit that one of 
these volumes is as difficult to read and understand as 
the other. That there ate as many mysteries in Dra- 
per's Chemistry, Gray's Botany, or Steele's Astronomy, 
as there are in the Christian's Bible. As many in the 
scientific works of Darwin and Tyndall as there are in 
the theological works of Calvin and Arminius — of Ed- 
wards and Wesley. 

II I. In an important sense we are not required to believe 
a mystery — any doctrine which we do not understand. 

This fact was suggested by a learned divine of the 
last century, and has been elaborated and illustrated 
by another of this. They make the obvious distinction 
between a fact and the philosophy of its existence. 
The latter illustrates this difference with the fact that 
plants and animals grow and the how and why of 
their growth, already adverted to. He insists that we 
knoiu and believe the one, but that we neither know nor 
believe the other. 

Our Savior, in his conversation with Nicodemus 
seems to refer to this distinction. When lie abruptly 
propounded the theory of the new birth, the astonished 
Jewish teacher said, "Hoiv can a man be born when he 
is old?" Jesus, without attempting to explain the 
mystery which envelops this spiritual change, reminds 
him of a fact of nature, with which he was familiar, 
but whose philosophy he did not understand. He 
said: "The wind bloweth where it listeth and thou 
hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it 
cometh and whither it goeth : so is every one that is 
born of the Spirit." Does he not say, substantially, 
that "the fact of the wind's blowing was known and 
believed by Nicodemus, but that the 'philosophy of its 
blowing was neither known nor believed by him ? And, 
in applying his illustration, does he not say : The new 
birth is a necessary and blessed fact in the Christian's 



The Mystery op Godliness. 193 

experience, the necessity and possibility of which is 
presented to your faith, while the philosophy of its ac- 
complishment is not so presented? Does he not say : 
You may and must believe and act on the fact of its 
necessity and importance, but you need not inquire 
into or believe the how of this spiritual transformation? 

The blowing of the wind and the work of the Holy 
Spirit are not the only facts, the mystery of whose ex 
istence the philosopher and Christian do not under- 
stand or believe. The former looks into his own mind, 
created in the image of the three-one God, and sees 
three distinct faculties, which express themselves in in- 
tellections, emotions and volitions. On looking more 
closely he finds that this mind is mysteriously united, 
in one person, with his animal nature. On some 
beautiful spring morning, he looks out on nature and 
sees the whole vegetable kingdom, after a winter of 
profound slumber, awaking to a new and joyous life. 
He no more doubts these facts than he does his own 
existence, but he neither understands nor believes the 
hidden philosophy that underlies and determines their 
existence. 

So the Christian has presented to his faith the doc- 
trine that three distinct hypostases are, from eternity, 
rooted and united in the one Godhead. He is told that 
one of these hypostases, for the redemption of our race, 
became indissolubly united, in one person, with human 
nature. And his faith hopefully looks forward and 
sees the bodies of the redeemed, after a long and sweet 
sleep in the grave, awake, in the likeness of this God- 
man, to a new and immortal life. All these facts are, 
for his instruction and comfort, presented to his faith. 
He may, possibly, to some extent, realize the first. two 
in his consciousness. He firmly and joyously believes 
in their existence, but he neither understands nor be- 
lieves the impenetrable mystery which so completely 



194 North Carolina Sermons, 

envelops thein. Nor is he required or expected to 
do so. 

In conclusion, allow tue to say that I trust I have 
shown somewhat satisfactorily the utter groundless- 
ness of the skeptic's objection to the mysteries cf reve- 
lation. I trust that it has been made somewhat clear 
that we may, without damage to the truth, concede, 
with St. Paul, that "great is the mystery of godliness." 

First : Because, as mystery has its origin in the mind 
and is caused by ignorance, it does not necessarily im- 
ply absurdity or contradiction of reason. 

Secondly; Because the rejection of the doctrines and 
facts of revelation, because they are mysterious, would 
involve logical ly the rejection of the leading doctrines 
and facts of science and natural religion. 

Thirdly : Because, in an important sense, wo rro not 
expected or required to believe a mystery — to believe 
what we cannot understand. 

In truth, my brethren, if we will believe nothing 
that is mysterious, we will have an exceedingly short 
and unsatisfactory creed. We will have to discard 
many of the sweetest and most fondly cherished the- 
ories of domestic, social, and spiritual life. We will 
have to give up many of the most precious and best 
attested facts of consciousness. We will be forced to 
doubt a mother's love and a sister's affection ; a hus- 
band's sincerity and a wife's devotion ; God's tender 
mercy and the Saviour's profound compassion. Aye, 
we will no longer believe in our own existence or in 
any of the facts that make life a benefaction and a 
blessing. For, the how and why of all these things are 
at present beyond our comprehension. In a word, we 
will be driven from all the grounds of moral certitude 
into the waste of universal skepticism. We will be 
loosed from the moorings of all faith, and be lost in 
the sea, or wrecked on the rocks of absolute and inex- 
orable unbelief. 



Christ the Way, the Truth, the Life. 195 

Let us, then, instead of rejecting mysteries, give 
more of our time, and thought, and effort to the blessed 
work of uncovering them. Let us try daily, by a life 
of consecration and love, to increase our store of theo- 
retical and experimental knowledge, thus constantly 
reducing the area of mystery. Thus, when we are 
called to solve the mysterious problem of death, the 
presence and sustaining grace of God may be sweetly 
and joyously realized. And then may we spend the 
unending cycles of eternity in learning more and 
more of God, and providence, and grace. In experi- 
encing more and more of the love, and peace, and joy 
that shall be to us the heaven of eternal glory ! 



CHRIST THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE. 

By Rev. R. L. Abernethy, B. D., 

President of Rutherford College, N. C. 



Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou 
goest; and how can we know the way ? Jesus saith unto 
him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man eometh 
unto the Father but by me. — John xiv: 5, 6. 

Man is the offspring of God ; the expression of a 
divine thought, clothed in flesh and endowed with in- 
telligence and immortality. Being the promptings of 
infinite benevolence, he is suspended from the bosom 
of God upon cords of divine love ; and in his normal 
moral state, before sin severed the relations between 
him and his Creator, he revolved about God in a 
moral orbit with as much precision as the planetary 
system revolves about its central sun. 

Sin, the great disintegrating element intercepted 
his movements by destroying the correlation upon his 
part towards his Maker, and man fell off from the 
grand centralizing object of life and love, into an 
abyss of cjarl^ness and misery. 



196 North Carolina Sermons. 

In this sad condition our text finds him in the per- 
son of Thomas, with all his correlations to his Maker 
severed, pleading at the shrine of infinite wisdom and 
goodness, in terms admissive of human inefficiency to 
find " Him of whom Moses in the law and the proph- 
ets did write." The Saviour at once in compassion to 
his ignorance and misery, responds in language cal- 
culated to remove his doubts and chase away his des- 
ponding fears : " I am the way, and the truth, and the 
life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me." 

Without a violation of the laws of language, we 
might transpose the text to read thus: "No man 
cometh unto the Father but by me ; for I am the way, 
and the truth, and the life." 

Taking the language of the text in this construc- 
tion, we propose to consider the following proposi- 
tions : 

I. Man, in a state of nature, is far removed from God ; 
and he is, consequently, in a state of misery from which 
there is no release without a reunion and communion with 
God. 

The distance between God and His creature man 
cannot consist in locality or space ; for " do I not fill 
heaven and earth," saith God. It is also said that 
"in Him we live and move, and have our being." 
The great chasm between God and man is a moral 
one, and consists in the lack of correspondence of en- 
vironment upon the part of man. He has lost his 
correlations to God, and all sin arises from attempts 
upon his part to substitute created or imaginary ele- 
ments in God's stead. Hence, the rush of poor fallen 
humanity into the multitudinous modes of sinning, 
and the consequent disquiet of the human heart in a 
state of unregeneration. 

We might argue this proposition more fully from 
the fact, 

1, That man is contingent and relative, and in the 



Christ the Way, the Truth, the Life. 197 

very constitution of his being he must necessarily feel 
his need of a protecting Power above himself. 

This feeling of want and disquiet is the realization 
of experience in universal mind. All nations, king- 
doms, tribes and peoples attest this fact in the buzz and 
push of human society and enterprise. The wild, 
distracted rush of men and corporations into fields of 
speculation and chance; the bonded firms of iniquity 
and sin that plan, and cheat, and rob to gather gold 
at the expense of human life and happiness ; the 
wasted strength, the sunken eye, the palsied hand, the 
palpitating heart of the ten thousand sons of science, 
who burn the oil of the midnight lamp in search of 
literary fame ; all declare that man — poor, sinful,dying 
man — is out of correspondence with his great moral 
environment, God ; and consequently, he is wretched 
and hopeless. 

2. It is only in cognizing and tracing our correla- 
tions to God that we can find our great moral Envi- 
ronment, and thus bring our souls into that quiet of 
repose which human nature so much desires. 

To change the figure somewhat, Christ is the vine 
and we are the branches. If the brauches are severed 
from the vine, they must necessarily wither and die. 
If the human soul -is separated from God in Christ, 
its source cf life and happiness, it must necessarily 
die to all spiritual and eternal life. 

Thomas seems to have been doubly ignorant upon 
this subject. He did not know the place of this great 
Environment , nor did he know the wa} r to find it. 

The world and the church are full of Thomases to- 
day. Many, though few in comparison to the classes 
which are so far severed from the great spiritual En- 
vironment as to be dead and dried up from the roots, 
like the fig tree, are crying out like Job, " 0, that 1 
knew where I might find him." Our text is a re- 
sponse from the bosom of eternal love, " I am the 

10 



198 North Carolina Sermons. 

way, and the truth, and the life;" and in tracing this 
way we shall find the last element of human nature 
in finding our great Environment. 

II. In Christ only man can find all the requisite elements, 
means, appliances and aids through which he can become 
restored to perfect correspondence with his great Spiritual I 
Environment. 

Man is lost from God, and how shall he find Him? 

1. Christ is the Way in the removal of the great 
legal impediments. 

God said to Adam, " in the day thou eatest of that 
tree, thou shalt die." Or, as the original has it, " dy- 
ing, thou shalt begin to die." Adam did eat, and sin, 
condemnation and death fell upon the whole race. 
Eternal Justice, who guards the honors of the Eternal 
Throne, drew his mighty sword and barred the gate- 
way to God and heaven. " Darkness covered the 
earth and gross darkness the people." The audacious 
act of sin silenced the song of eternity for half an 
hour. Earth and man with all his surroundings be- 
came culprits, and a dark pall of death " was spread 
over all nations," and a "covering was cast over all 
people." An impenetrable barrier shut out the light 
of God's countenance from this rebellious world, and 
man was left in darkness, despondency and death. 

But the prophet Isaiah, foreseeing the work of 
Christ, cried out in glorious triumph, " In this moun- 
tain shall the Lord of host take away the veil that is 
cast over all nations, and the covering that is spread 
over all people." 

Thus Christ removes all legal impediments by sat- 
isfying the claims of Divine Justice and opening up 
the way to God. 

2. Christ is the Way, in removing the antagonism 
of our natures, and in transforming our characters 
and souls into the image of God. 

Some people seem to think life's record is one great 



Christ the Way, the Truth, the Life. 199 

balance sheet, upon one side of which our good ac- 
tions are recorded, and our evil ones upon the other, 
and that heaven or hell shall result with the prepon- 
derance. We declare to you that heaven or hell is 
. ; not a reward or punishment for good or evil deeds, 
: 'but a result based upon the eternal law of fitness in 
things. Men are saved in heaven because through 
divine agency they have been developed and cultured 
into a moral similitude and fitness for that glorious 
place. Men are lost because of their unfitness for 
heaven, based upon their corrupt and sinful moral 
characters. This law permeates the universe of en- 
tities and forms the different strata and classes of the 
universe. Christ is the medium through whose divine 
elements our evil natures are changed, and we become 
reconciled to God. 

3. Christ is the Way, in the removal of divine 
wrath from the sinner. 

0, could the sinner see himself as God and angels 
see him, he would despair of eternal life. We some- 
times pray for God to show the sinner his worst con- 
dition. We may mean well, but it is an unwise 
prayer. O, if the sinner could see his worst condi- 
tion, reason would lose its balance, and man would go 
into a state of insanity. God reveals to the repentant 
soul just what it can bear and live. 

But thanks be unto God, Christ "has borne our 
griefs and carried all our sorrows." He unbosomed 
himself to receive the ponderous weight of wrath 
which Divine Justice poured out for man. The flam- 
ing sword of divine wrath cooled its ponderous blade in 
His own heart's blood. 0, He died to remove God's 
burning wrath from sinful, feeble man. 

4. Christ is the Truth. 

Truth is the possibility of fact. In Christ are all 
the possibilities of man's salvation. "In Him all the 
fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily." In Him is all 



200 North Carolina Sermons. 

power, wisdom, grace, love and mercy. No angelic 
being can soar above His need. No poor sinner on 
earth can sink below His power to save. His eternal, 
inexhaustible love spares the universe of being. While 
His eternal power warms the heart of the loftiest arch- 
angel into heavenly song, it breathes life and music 
into the chirping insect that nightly sings upon our 
hearth-stones. Glorious fulness ! Who can despair of 
eternal life? In Him is truth, all, immeasurable abil- 
ity to save. He came 10 die for us and to develop the 
truths of His being into the facts of our salvation. 

5. Christ is the Life. 

All life is from God. The old Latin adage, "Omne 
vivum ex vivo," is true of all life. Scientists have con- 
vulsed the world for more than two hundred years in 
attempting to prove the absurdity that life is some- 
times spontaneous. But the inertia of matter is an 
eternal rebut to such foolish attempts. There can be 
no life in matter, unless the mass is touched with life 
from beyond itself. Christ is the germ of natural life. 
In Him we live and move and have our being. The 
sinner's life is borrowed capital from Christ. 

But Christ is our life, 

1. In the sense of capacity to cognize divine things. 
Man is dead in trespasses and in sins. In our lapsed 

condition, we can have no ideas of eternal happiness 
or desires to seek for that glorious state. The sinner 
calls good evil and evil good. In nature's state we are 
" dead, plucked up by the roots and ready to be 
burned." But Christ, who is life, comes to us in His 
Spirit's power, and new life springs up in our souls. 
We begin to cry, "Men and brethren, what must I do 
to be saved ?" When "faith lends her realizing light," 
and Christ enters our souls, the germ of spiritual life 
touches our immortal natures and the first elements of 
eternal life commence their throbbings in our being. 
Christ is our life, 

2. In the sense of eternal life. 



Christ the Way, the Truth, the Life. 201 

The soul, secured in its immortality of being, laughs 
at the contemptible conception of annihilation. Its 
destiny of an eternal duration is stamped upon every 
fiber of its being and flashes out in every intuition. 
Over the huge piles of atheistic sophisms, it leaps with 
gigantic bound, and lights its torch of triumph at the 
throne of the eternal God. In Christ we shall live 
forever. 

But an eternity of life is the least appreciable ele- 
ment of this great thought. The sinner, too, will have 
an endless duration of being, but no eternal life of 
ever-expanding, unfolding glory. His will bean eter- 
nal life of unending death. The inexhaustibly com- 
plex bundle of the Christian's intellectual and moral 
possibilities, shall unfold forever as he approximates 
the infinite and perfect down the years of God's eter- 
nity. There will come no period when an arch-angel 
might say to the humblest Christian in heaven, "here 
let thy proud intellect cease its unfolding." Christ 
shall sit upon the throne of eternal life, and feed his 
followers forever. "It doth not yet appear how great 
we shall be." "Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, 
nor hath it ever entered into the heart of man to con- 
ceive what God hath in reserve for those that love 
him." 

Let us, fellow-Christian, labor on, pray on, wait on, 
and suffer on. A crown of endlese life and glory 
shall be ours beyond the turbid river. Many of our 
loved ones have crossed over before us, and to-night, 
while we are moving on in pain and sorrow, upon 
wings of life and glory they encircle the dazzling 
throne of God, and with harps strung to immortal 
song, they sing "unto him that loved us and washed 
us in' His blood, be glory, dominion and power for- 
ever." Amen. 



.202 North Carolina Skrmons. 



"LET IT ALONE AND IT WON'T HURT 
YOU!" 

By Theo. H. Hill, Raleigh, N. C. 



An exchange paper says: "No person ever got stung by 
hornets who kept away from where they were. It is just so 
with bad habits." Now there are two propositions in this lit- 
tle paragraph. The first is true as to -hornets ! The last is a 
false and absurd deduction from a true premise. If there 
were any analogy whatever between the sting of a hornet 
and the wounds resulting from a bad habit the deduction 
would legitimately follow — but hornets inflict physical pain 
and injury only, while the bad habits to which they are 
likened are the source of incalculable moral and social evils. 
The injury in the one case stops with the individual receiving 
it — in the other the evil is progressive, involving hundreds 
and thousands, it may be, in its pernicious consequences. 
There is nothing more common and more ridiculous than this 
style of defence piously and oracularly put forth by apolo- 
gists for the brutal and infamous traffic in ardent spirits. 
" Let it alone, and it won't hurt you." It won't, eh! Let's 
examine this proposition a moment. 

A., stifling all good moral impulses, establishes "a good 
moral character," and proceeds, under "license," to contrib- 
ute to the xjrosperity of his town, by setting up a bar room. 
He erects his screen, and paints the lower halves of the win- 
dows that open on the street, for he wishes to do a quiet and 
gentlemanly business in the retail way. He thus secures from 
impertinent observation those who prefer taking their " bit- 
ters " on the sly, and at the same time gently stimulates pub- 
lic curiosity by investing his "saloon" with an air of mys- 
tery. Partial glimpses of decanters and bottles and Bohe- 
mian glasses, decked with showy labels and filled with glowing 
varicolored liquids are permitted from the street at certain 
■ angles of vision, for every arrangement about this man-trap 
is subtly devised to decoy and betray the unwary. After 
night-fall a red light or blue light blazes at the entrance. 

A. secures a good run of custom, and becomes quite popu- 
lar in the community — with the young men especially It is 
true the village doctor, who has practiced his profession so 
successfully here, is getting into disrepute. They say he is to 
be found now-a-days more frequently at A's bar room than at 



Let it Alone, and it Won't Hurt You ! 203 



home, or in his office. Neighbor O's child died last week 
quite suddenly, and it is the universal belief that prompt 
medical aid would have saved her, but the doctor, alas! was 
blind drunk at A's bar room. They talk of inducing another 
physician to settle here. 

The doctor's wife has never been to A's hornet's nest, but 
she has been terribly stung by it. The doctor is not the kind 
husband and father he formerly was Wife and children have 
received curses and bruises without cause. The house, once 
neat and cheerful, has lost its air of thrift, comfort and cleanli- 
ness. Poverty and shame from rum drinking are doing their 
work of death silently but surely. 

" Let it alone, and it won't hurt you!" 

D. was a genial, gifted, handsome fellow. The village was 
proud of him. He was the promising lawyer. Clients 
thronged his office; fees flowed into his pockets. Political 
preferments were lavishly bestowed upon him. He was the 
"coming man." His wit was sparkling — his eloquence melt- 
ing. He was, in a word, the community's pet and idol. He 
married the belle of an adjoining county, who became an or- 
nament to our society, and was beloved alike for his sake and 
her own. Their union was blessed anon with three beauteous, 
sprightly children — gleeful, blue-eyed, sunny-haired prattlers. 
Earth has few fairer types of Eden than D'shome was before 
the tempter came. We have seen the spot, and can form 
some conception of its former loveliness. D. tampered with 
the fatal wine-cup and became a frequenter of A's saloon. 
He did not become a drunkard at once, but tippled genteelly 
— " taking a spree " only when his wife was a, way on an occa- 
sional visit to her father's house. On one of these debauches, 
resulting in delirium tremens, he was at home, attended only 
by a friend and servants. He slept, or seemed to sleep, and 
his friend left his room for a moment. On his return, after a 
brief absence, D's couch was empty, and he could nowhere 
be found. Eager search was immediately instituted, and 
alas! at dead of night, all that remained of poor D. was 
found a broken, bloody corpse! He had fallen, or thrown 
himself, from the window of his room, (it was on the third 
floor), and his neck was broken by the fall. Imagine the hor- 
ror of the community. Picture the anguish of the heart- 
broken wife and mother returning to her desolated home with 
her orphaned children calling in vain for "'Papa." These 
innocent victims of the infamous ruin traffic had never been 
to A's ^ hornet's nest." They had done all they could to keep 
him away from there. 

" Let it alone, and it won't hurt you!" 



-204 Let it Alone, and it Won't Hurt You! 

A's business prospers. He buys town property and adds 
field to field and farm to farm. Well-to-do men who patron- 
ized him are out at the elbow now. Their children are grow- 
ing up in idleness, ignorance and destitution, for all of their 
substance has been wasted at A's saloon. If those who sell 
and drink the accursed poison were all who are stung by it, 
God knows the ram traffic would be terrible enough! But 
as it is -penetrating— transfixing with its myriad stings thou- 
sands upon thousands who are innocent of all complicity in it, 
we shudder, and grow sick at heart when we think of it. 
What shall we say of the enormity of its wickedness ? Hu- 
man speech has no synonyrae for its turpitude, and time must 
look to eternity for the sum total of ruin wrought by the 
licensed destroyer! 

Let it alone, and it won't hurt you ! 





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